Possunt quia posse videntur ~ (Latin: They can because they think they can.)
One of most misunderstood issues online has to do with copyright. Both with e-mail and Web site copyright issues. For some reason, as with many things online, there is this incorrect perception that anything goes. However, many are finding out hard way that when it comes to protecting creative collateral, copyright is law. And, copyright laws can and are being enforced online.
No, I am not an attorney. Nor do I play one on T.V. But I can help you avoid potential problems based on guiding clients for over a decade. Hopefully, this effort will help others from finding out hard way that copyright is alive and well online.
1) “I can right click, save anything online and use it how I wish.”
This is a perfect example of just because you can doesn't mean you do! Those graphics or files were created by someone out there. They legally attained copyright upon that file’s creation. Without their specific permission to use that file or graphic, you have no right to just take it and use it as you please. Always ask a site owner before you illegally swipe anything off their site.
2) “As long as I note author’s name, I can use their site’s content on my site.”
Although you are being nice and giving credit where credit is due, you still need to ask author’s permission to post their work on your site. The author may not want their information posted anywhere off their own site or they many not approve of your site as a venue for their information that is their choice to make not yours. Always ask a site owner if you can use their content before you put it on your site.
3) “I can link to graphics on other sites so that they display on my site.”
O.K., maybe you didn't actually download graphic and put it on your server, but if you are displaying someone else’s work on your site without their permission bottom line is still same. And, you are using their server’s resources to display something on your site. Shame on you!
4) “I can display pages from other’s Web sites within frames on my site.”
Many site owners prohibit their site pages from being framed within another site because it gives impression that other site created information. Many times folks innocently do this so they don’t have to send site visitors off their site for information they want to provide. Others do so to precisely give impression it is content they created. A better option is to link to information you like and create a new window to open when doing so to ensure your site is still available to your site visitors.
5) “If I only quote a portion of other site’s content and link to them I do not need their permission.”
Again, it would behoove you to have permission to do so. Using only portions allows you to possibly give wrong impression about author’s overall content and this can be misleading at best. If you want to quote any written work in whole or part you need to ask permission to do so.