Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Copyright Carefulness: Seven Points to Remember Before Sharing

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As a website and blog owner, I have this overlaying fear that I will accidentally break copyright.  Unintentionally, I will take what someone wrote and not give them credit.   Even in high school and college, I worried about this while writing papers.  Some of you are nodding your head because you experienced this fear as well.

The WWW has made plagiarizing even more rampid.  One person takes an idea and doesn't credit it.  Then another person finds an unlinked and without-an-author idea and assumes that it is common knowledge.  Pretty soon, the person who spent the time and energy to develop the idea is long forgotten.

Just like me, 99.9% of you would freak if you knew you broke copyright.  Then how do you keep from stealing ideas?

1.  If you find an idea that you like, the safest bet is to simply link back to the idea.  Almost never will you get in trouble for linking to an idea and authors love and appreciate this!  FYI, some sites {including ABCJLM} request/require you to link to the idea and not directly to the pdf or worksheet.  (This has to do with website exposure and hits.  I get this.)

2.  If you want to wet your reader's appetite, provide the first few words or sentences of the idea with a "read more" link following.  You can still display a preview without taking an idea (or hits) away from an author. 

3.  When listing the source's name and/or link, be sure to post the information so it is easily seen by others.  (You can almost always find photo sources around the author's name as done in this blog.)

4.  If an author is not listed and a link is not given, then you can (hopefully) assume that the author of the site or post is the owner of the idea.  For example, any idea, worksheet, song, etc. on the ABCJLM Curriculum that does not have some type of author or source recognition is my personal idea.  Well, really, the Holy Spirit's but I have yet to see the Holy Spirit's name in someone's bibliography. 

5.  Never copy any amount of an idea, song, craft, activity and not list an author's name -and/or- link back to the source.  No matter how small or short the idea is don't do this.  Anytime that I have copied an entire idea, I have personally written the author to receive permission to recopy.  I know of a site that copies a small percentage of worksheets out of books for his/her readers to use.  Don't do this.  That is playing with fire. 

6.  Remember the 10% rule.  Honestly, I am not sure if this is even an actual rule.  Either way it is a great guideline.  Never copy and share more than 10% of a blog post, article, books, etc. 

7.  Correctly using Pinterest allows you to pin a page and share with friends.  This is a great way to share an idea but not break copyright.  Look for "Pin it" buttons on websites that will help you keep ideas among your favorites. 

It is easy to think...oh my site is so small and no one who cares will ever read it.  Unfortunately google search can find even the "smallest" of sites. 

Let's face it, we all have broken copyright at some point or other.  Ever sing or write down the song Happy Birthday?  It's copyrighted.  That's why restaurants have their own version.  Even in my research, speaking with professionals, and careful writing, unbeknownst to me, I have broken copyright on the ABCJLM website and this blog.  It's true.  But, I do my best to make sure that anything that is not my own crazed creation contains a source.  Then if I find out that I have made an error, I will change it as soon as possible.

I don't write all of this to scare you from sharing ideas.  It is in this sharing that authors become known.  Just be aware.  Take the extra time it takes to give credit where credit is due.

Questions about ABCJLM and this blog's Terms of Use?  Don't be afraid to ask me



1 comment :

  1. I have a law degree and my husband is a musician so we've done LOTS of research on copyright! :-) Just keep in mind that most of the time if you do use something that's copyrighted and shouldn't, as long as you stop using it when asked, all is well. Also, there are many different kinds of copyrights and many common items we say/sing/do are common domain so anyone can use them however they choose! Be careful, but don't be scared away!

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