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Some examples of behaviors that are commonly believed to be allowable which are in fact illegal in United States are:
- Taking images from newsgroups and posting them on your web site. Just because something has been copied to a newsgroup, regardless of whether copy was made by copyright owner or someone else, does not mean in any form that copyright has been given up.
- Using articles and images from other web sites. Again, this is illegal unless explicit permission is given or item in question is in public domain.
- Scanning images from magazines and posting them on your fan site. This is illegal as you are making a copy (a scan) of a copyrighted image.
- Recording sound from your favorite television show and posting them to your web site. Again, not legal.
- Getting permission from someone who has made a legitimate copy of material. The rule is simple: you must obtain permission from copyright owner or their legal agents.
- Modifying an image and claiming it as your own. Copyright protects derivations of works as well.
On other hand, following are acceptable under US copyright laws.
- Including a few brief quotes from a book in a review. This is acceptable under fair use laws - see http://www.internet-tips.net/Legal/fairuse.htm
- Reprinting a confirmed public domain novel on your web site (public domain is theme of a future article in this series).
- Asking and obtaining reprint permission from copyright owner or a legal agent of copyright owner.
- Reading an article about cheese puffs and writing your own article about cheese puffs. Copyright protects creative works (writings, images, paintings, sound and so on), not ideas or concepts. You are safe as long as your work is not simply same as other work with words changed.
The best advice is simple. When in doubt, ask permission. If you are denied permission or for some reason cannot obtain it, then don't use material.
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets. This website includes over 1,000 free articles to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge. Web Site Address: http://www.internet-tips.net Weekly newsletter: http://www.internet-tips.net/joinlist.htm Daily Tips: mailto:internet-tips@GetResponse.com