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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Plagiarism: What is a Copyright?

Basically, copyright is a law that gives you ownership over the things you create. Be it a painting, a photograph, a poem or a novel--if you created it, you own it, and it’s the copyright law itself that assures that ownership. The ownership that copyright law grants comes with several rights that you, as the owner, have exclusively. These include the right to

reproduce the work;
prepare derivative works;
distribute copies;
perform the work;
display the work publicly.

These are your rights and your rights alone. Unless you willingly give them up (e.g. via a Creative Commons License), no one can violate them legally. This means that, unless you say otherwise, no one can perform a piece written by you or make copies of it, even with attribution, unless you give the OK.

Inversely, if you’re looking for material to use or reuse, you should not do either of these things without either asking permission or confirming that the work is in the public domain, which means that the copyright has expired and all of the above rights have been forfeited. Simply put, if the work isn’t in the public domain and you don’t have permission to use a piece, you put yourself at risk of legal action, regardless of your intentions.

A great overview of copyright issues can be seen in this video made for DKG editors and webmasters.

In our next blog, we will review Creative Commons and Google searches, as well as give you places to find images that are labeled Creative Commons. We will also discuss use of the Society logos.

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