Marketing – the copyright of things

Yes, I still need to post part II of promoting (I haven’t forgotten that many of you want to increase your viewership, and get yourself or your work “out there” in the public eye), but today my topic is the copyright. What it is and isn’t.

Each day on the internet, many trillions of pieces of data (of all kinds, in all formats) are circulating copyright-by-charlieajaeverywhere (worldwide) online. Protecting your creations has become highly interesting.

A few of the larger advertising agencies have no problem with “borrowing” creative works from individuals who have posted on facebook, or other multimedia entites.

And they’re the big boys. Many many private individuals are doing the same thing.

So can you really effectively “protect” your work? Well yes, if you have as much clout and money as the big companies do – no worries. Otherwise develop an understanding about the original work you display online, beginning with understanding what the word copyright means and what it really does.

COPYRIGHT: The meaning – The legal rights (protection), given to an individual/group/entity of original works of art or intellectual property (such as written words, music, lyrics, audio visual, audible, photography, and many other types of creations) belonging to the originator or designated owner.

So here’s the skinny: Your original work is copyrighted the second you hit the publish button for your blog orglobal-copyright-by-alexskopje website. When the public views your work (artistry, literary, musical, or pictorial expression) it’s already been dated and copyrighted (this is understood by the law of most countries).

Stating this in another way, In the United States (and in most other countries), creative original work is automatically the copyrighted property of their creators, once completed in tangible form for the first time, without doing anything else.

The copyright symbol online is a symbolic gesture indicating to the viewer that you “own” the rights to your creations. In the case of large companies, the symbol also means you can safely assume they have lawyers standing nearby to enforce those rights.

Many people still choose to file an application and pay the fee (modest) to register work with the copyright office as added protection in case of legal disputes. But here’s the thing. As previous mentioned, if there is a legal dispute (because someone has “stolen” your original work), you will still need to hire legal representation. To sue for damages, etc.

There are several government agencies in the United States and most other countries, where you can report “stolen” creative property. And they will investigate and help to enforce copyright violations.

copyright-by-drizzdIt is not hard to prove your original work is yours, because it’s dated and viewed publicly. If you’ve put a lot of time and money into something creative, then you should have already hired an attorney to attend to the legal details to protect your property.

In summation: Today, online, there are those people who have trouble distinguishing between “borrowing”  something to put on their blog or website and “stealing” someone’s creative property.

Bottom line, it’s probably going to happen to you. That’s the understanding I’m speaking of. No one (I’ll repeat this) No one is immune from this happening to them.

With the advent of the cyberworld – who owns what, online, can get very murky. Understand this too.

Your creative property has copyright protection, but this does not mean it will not get stolen. You’re the one that decides what you want to expose to the public and what you don’t.

If you have any further questions regarding copyright laws. There is a ton of “free information”  online (google it), and through government agencies.

Good luck, keep creating and understand that you are unique, if someone copies your style or an idea (you cannot copyright those things) remember that being copied is the greatest form of flattery you can have, So keep being the original you that you are!

~ Penny

Penny L Howe

28 thoughts on “Marketing – the copyright of things

  1. Thank you Penny for the information! I recently had my work “borrowed” without my express permission as is indicated on my blog. I had to jump through hoops to have my content removed from the offending website. It was suggested that one should periodically check the web by searching for specific terms or tags used…

    • Your welcome Barb, and I am sorry about your “borrowing” problems. It is too bad that it is necessary, at all, to have to “check”. Respect for others property would be a very good thing if it were honored on the internet my friend!

        • Hi barb. I checked out his article. wow, his food photo’s are beautiful but so many being taken like that is way over the line. I’d be ticked off too. Thanks for sharing my post. I wish I a solution, but too many people see the photo’s online as “freebies”, and i don’t think it’s going to get much better any time soon unless a program is created that blocks content from being copied (that’s simple to use of course)! xx

          • Your article and Lisa’s at Zeebra Designs struck a chord with me, especially after having this happen to me too, but not to the degree that this happened to Conor! Take care and a big hug to hold you all day! – B

            • Hi Barb. It is really wide spread. And I think the reasoning is pretty much “why not” for those who do plagiarize. Conor’s food photo’s do make the food look delicious! I guess too much so, sigh! Huge hugs, stay cool, it’s summer, but hot weather also, to watch out for my friend! xx

  2. It is a sad case when someone pinches work and adds their own name to it but even with credits and pats on the back for well developed ideas, or a photograph that is snapped just at the right moment, a masterpiece in the form of artistic excellence, a sculpture, script, story or poem, whatever the medium is, the fact still remains that the thief has to live with the knowing that his or her so called work is someone else’s and that he or she is nothing but a fraud.

    In the instance of a writer, once the writing is withdrawn from the source the material cannot be reproduced, not even if it is written in the same style as that vision stays within the mind of the original author of the work. However some individuals have no moral fibre and will continue to trawl the Internet for new material, it is definitely immoral but some do not care a jot my dear friend and steal without remorse.

    Have a lovely afternoon Penny 🙂

    Andro xxx

    • I hear you Andro. And agree. The original creativity is always in the mind of the creator, whatever the imitator does with it. Sigh, the rest is true! I did resign myself to that awareness some time ago, so now I openly share my art and words, and do not worry so much about it. Have a great day today! 🙂

  3. Thanks for the valuable information Penny, especially your last message about keeping strong, it is encouraging in this vast space where anything can end up anywhere and you may never know about it.

    • I think it’s going to be that way for some time to come also. So the best philosophy is (my thoughts only here) to understand the “shortcomings” of protecting your work on line and continue to create and protect as you can! Thank you for your compliment! 🙂

  4. I don’t know about Australia, but here in the U.S., the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act specifically protects online content. The law had to catch up with the new technology. The 2 never seem to be in concurrence.

    • Yes. Living here in the Northwest state of Washington, I have an awareness of how hard it is for our government (USA) or any government to stay current with new technology and digital property rights. Just isn’t going to happen any time soon either, Alejandro. 😦

  5. My sister took some photos of some horses last year. There was a horse leading it’s foal, and it took it to a farmer’s house, and then the mare collapsed and died. (and there were far too many ands there lol) But I digress. She contacted a national paper and told them. They asked her to send photos. She told me she did, so I asked her if she watermarked her photos, to which she said “no, I told them they were mine” The next day, one of the stories was “Mare leads foal to safety in a final act of love” (or something like that) with the photos – copyrighted to the person who did the article. So now, she does the same as I do and watermarks the photos.

    I find that people who want to use my photos tend to ask me first.

    This is a very good article Penny

  6. Your description of the copyright system is exactly what I understand it it be Penny, simple and logical. In addition you can quote extracts (non-substantial) from the work of others provided that you credit it and you can always ask a writer/artist/photog for permission to use their work. It was suggested to me that using my own name on the domain would likely shy the ‘big boys’ away so I did that, but not for the reason given – I thought it looked cool too! Don’t forget to remind that 70 years after our deaths our copyright lapses, something most of us should consider as our last chance to become famous 😀

    • Hi Mike! I love your Domain name and the look of it, btw! Courtesy should be a given (sadly it’s not, in many cases) Yes forgot about the 70 year limit of things. We’d better hurry, of course since it doesn’t happen til after we’re gone maybe we don’t have to hurry too much after all! 🙂

  7. Your welcome. I owned a marketing firm when I was raising my children and have tried to stay somewhat abreast of marketing in the online world of today. I pass on what I can, that feel reasonably sure of, anyway, lol!

  8. Very interesting article, and one of my favourite topics, along with patenting. I would agree with Jueseppi B basically, and with yourself in the article. If it happens in happens and basically there’s nothing you can do about it. I have seen – many – blogs with draconian copyright statements stating that “all measures” will be taken against infringements. Well, they won’t. And the type of agency/person lifting the work knows that.
    As I ‘m not a photographer I don’t really care, and I find big warnings and copyrighted messages next to poems so absurd it stops me reading them.- especially as we’re not all Shakespeare..I agree that with sites such as Pinterest you can forget of even considering credit back to you will go far.
    There is a balance. Either one blogs and has fun or one doesn’t. A discreet copyright sign might be fine, but big watermarks over anodyne photos and after ever piece of writing is absurd, and shows everyone the blogger in question does not know copyright laws already in existence as you mentioned.

    • I agree there needs to be a balance. It is especially difficult when you are dealing with a combination of factors for many of the bloggers around the world. Lack of knowledge, lack of inclination to research some of the obvious things that should be researched before just assuming, and a politeness and ability to utilize appropriate behavior. Most bloggers love to share. They are generous and giving. At the same time, we need to respect a bloggers own endeavors and creativity also. As you say finding the balance is the trick here. Thanks for your insightful comments and input, much appreciated!

  9. I am guilty of using everything I see online, in post, in FB and Twitter. I suppose I’m going to copyright jail. I guess i use whatever I find online because I’m of the mind that whatever I write on my blog, whatever image I create, I don’t really care if others use it, steal it, borrow it….matter of fact Ms. Penny…..that copyright image with the magnifying glass…….

    I “borrowed” it just now!!

    (° ͜ʖ ͡°)

    ♥ ❀ ✿ Namaste ❀ ✿ ♥

    • Hi Jueseppi. You reblog many people on your blog weekly and give credit for their creativity. And I understand how you feel about freely sharing your own work. It would be wonderful if all felt that way. Your blog is to share information and not take credit for other people’s creativity or profit by it, a different kind of thing I believe. Still be careful, my friend.
      This post is to inform people who do not really understand what a copyright is, as it relates to protecting their own creative work. And the vulnerability they still have when they publish/share in the online world – p.s. the copyright image your borrowed can be used in the format for which you intend it (nonprofit/informational/editorial) if you used it to make money the owner of that piece (not me) might want to speak with you! lol 🙂 xx

  10. yes, this is a very serious issue that many people truly don’t understand. i’ve had one copyright infringement when a photo ended up in an international magazine because a ‘friend’ submitted it and did not give credit to me. i wrote the magazine and said i was shocked to see my image and wondered if they’d asked who owned the rights to the photo… i should have pressed forward legally, but one only has a short window of time if the image has not been formally registered. registering your work buys time and also helps with costs if you have to fight – especially helpful when someone profits from your art/photo.

    my concern these days is the people who innocently right click and pin to pinterest.. they skip over that legal question about owning the copyrights to the image and they share it.. and others like/share it.. and then someone else comes along and lifts the image from pinterest and gives a generic credit to pinterest and not to the true owner/origin of the image. i have been shocked to find my images posted by other readers with no credit to my work.

    thank you for helping with the details about copyright. maybe you can post one about sharing other people’s images on pinterest, facebook, travel sites and claiming they have the rights to upload them. to me, that’s stealing (or lying) as well.

    gracias amiga!

    • Thank you Lisa, for your comments and further edification of both the ease by which creative work can be stolen (with innocent intent in some cases) and the need for greater understanding of sharing other people’s images on the various forms of social media out there in our wide world of Internet. I will be happy to write a post about “the sharing of content”, protocol, legalities and so on! I’m sorry for the trouble you’ve encountered my friend! xx

      • it’s all part of growing; we’ve all done things out of innocence or ignorance and later become more responsible. international magazines are different – they know the rules!

        sometimes it happens with a simple email to share photos of others and they then upload them – usually fine with all parties, but sometimes it’s not! it’s best to always ask first. to their credit, some travel sites won’t allow images to be uploaded if there’s a copyright notice, even if one owns the copyright!

        yes, shining a light on the ‘etiquette’ might help others be more attentive and responsible. grrracias!

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