Leslie Pink Momma

This is a place where I discuss my life. This is also a place where I'll be discussing things about my businesses!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What is Intellectual Property?

Okay so there is a discussion that I ran into at one of the boards that I am on. There is a post in there about people that steal other people's post. She was concerned that this kind of thing is illegal or is it okay to do? She didn't know her rights.

This individual needed my help with this...so I said okay I'll research and get you some help.

Here is what I found.

Okay as a legal support specialist I only have to say this...I cannot give out legal advice...but I can say this...this is what I found on findlaw.com.

Lawyers and legal students look at this for help so you might could use this for yourself. What you are being ripped off is called intellectual property.... Here it is and I will quote from them: This is their website: http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/copyright/copyright-using/public-domain.html

Everything that is quoted is in red.

"You can use a work without the author's permission if it's in the public domain. When a work becomes available for use without permission from a copyright owner, it is said to be "in the public domain." Most works enter the public domain because their copyrights have expired. Ask the following questions to determine if a work is available for you to use without getting permission.

You should assume that every work is protected by copyright unless you can establish that it is not. Has the Copyright Expired? To determine whether a work is in the public domain and available for use without the author's permission, you first have to find out when it was published. Then, apply the following rules to see if the copyright has expired: Copyrights of all works published in the United States before 1923 have expired; the works are in the public domain. Works published after 1922, but before 1978, are protected for 95 years from the date of publication. If the work was created, but not published, before 1978, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. For works published after 1977, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.

However, if the work is a work for hire (that is, the work is done in the course of employment or has been specifically commissioned) or is published anonymously or under a pseudonym, the copyright lasts between 95 and 120 years, depending on the date the work is published. Lastly, if the work was published between 1923 and 1963, you must check with the U.S. Copyright Office to see whether the copyright was properly renewed. If the author failed to renew the copyright, the work has fallen into the public domain and you may use it. Has the Copyright Been Renewed?

The Copyright Office will check renewal information for you at an hourly rate. (Call the Reference & Bibliography Section at 202-707-6850.) You can also hire a private copyright search firm to see if a renewal was filed. If you want to go the least expensive route, you may be able to conduct a renewal search yourself. The renewal records for works published from 1950 to the present are available online at http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright.

Renewal searches for earlier works can be conducted at the Copyright Office in Washington D.C. or by visiting one of the many government depository libraries throughout the country. Call the Copyright Office for more information.

Here is the second page:

Is There a Copyright Notice?

You can't rely on the presence or absence of a copyright notice (©) to determine whether a work is protected by copyright, because a copyright notice is not required for works published after March 1, 1989. And even for works published before 1989, the absence of a copyright notice may not affect the validity of the copyright -- for example, if the author made diligent attempts to correct the situation.

Finding Material in the Public Domain For help locating material you can use without permission, see The Public Domain: How to Find Copyright-Free Writings, Music, Art & More, by attorney Steve Fishman (Nolo). Was the Work Produced by a U.S. Government Employee? Any work created by a U.S. government employee or officer is in the public domain provided that the work is created in that person's official capacity. This rule does not apply to works created by state and local government employees.

Did the Copyright Owner Donate it to the Public?

If, upon viewing a work, you see words such as "this work is dedicated to the public domain and may be reproduced without authorization," then it is free for you to use. That's because sometimes an author deliberately chooses not to protect a work and dedicates the work to the public. This type of dedication is rare, and unless there is express authorization placing the work in the public domain, do not assume that the work is free to use.

If You Want to Use Material on the Internet

Each day, people post vast quantities of creative material on the Internet -- material that is available for downloading by anyone who has the right computer equipment. Because the information is stored somewhere on an Internet server, it is fixed in a tangible medium and potentially qualifies for copyright protection. Whether particular material does, in fact, qualify depends on other factors that you would have no way of knowing about, such as when the work was first published (which affects the need for a copyright notice), whether the copyright in the work has been renewed (for works published before 1978), whether the work is a work made for hire (which affects the length of the copyright), and whether the copyright owner intends to dedicate the work to the public domain.

If you want to download the material for use in your own work, you should be cautious. It's best to track down the author of the material and ask for permission. The only exception to this advice is for situations where you want to use only a very small portion of text for educational or non-profit purposes. "

So, what does all this stuff mean? Unless your name is on it, that is considered stealing. Now what you can do is say hey can I borrow your post? This is great information, can I use it?

Or what would be better would be this...hey I love your article...can I add this quote "blah blah" here is where I have written it.

Just basically tell the person you want to use their information...other than that you're stealing from them!

I also want to add to this blog that I have written. In edition to what I have said someone else has offered some more legal insight to what I have written. And I will quote as I have been given permission to add this information on my blog.

This guy named Pete from Home-Made-Online-Income has to say this:

"Now, the question is, what do you do if you have been copied. Not if a blog post as been copied or a forum post, although this is as much stealing than anything else, i mean what if somebody comes along and copies the content of your website and makes it is own...
Here are a few steps you can take...

Document your ownership
- copyright your website, on every page if possible.
- Burn your website on Cd every 3 to 6 months and put the date on it.
- Copyright your website with http://www.copyright.gov It's not very expensive and will give you the best tool in case somebody steals all of your content.

Warn The Offender
- email and "registered mail" the person who is doing this to you. Also send to the person's Internet Service Provider (ISP). You can get the information you need through a WHOIS search. Send them proof that you own you IP address and that the material they copied was on your site before there's. Give them a date that you want the material to be deleted before you take further legal actions. Web hosts are generally not liable for the theft itself, but they can be help responsible if they keep it up. So, they won't risk it for the sake of 1 website. If you have everything to prove that it's your site and your content, it's considered the fastest way to remove such stolen content if the offender does not comply.

Complain To The Search Engines
- As you probably all know, SE's don't like duplicate content and again, if you can prove the content is yours, this will shut them down.

Google [h]as this to say:
'Don't fret too much about sites that scrape (misappropriate and republish) your content. Though annoying, it's highly unlikely that such sites can negatively impact your site's presence in Google. If you do spot a case that's particularly frustrating, you are welcome to file a DMCA request to claim ownership of the content and have us deal with the rogue site.'
Here is another good link: http://www.microsoft.com/info/cpyrtInfrg.htm
Copyscape is also a great source: http://www.copyscape.com/about.php#links"

On top of that this is what else he said:

"Why would anybody spend time on writing anything if somebody could just come along and copy it... Writing on the web can sometimes feel like you are putting everything out in public for anybody to use, but the fact of the matter is, ALL of the content you write AUTOMATICALLY has a copyright, whether you register it or not... or whether you indicate the copyright or not.

Now, the question is, what do you do if you have been copied. Not if a blog post as been copied or a forum post, although this is as much stealing than anything else, i mean what if somebody comes along and copies the content of your website and makes it is own..."

What I did was the LEGAL way to reference someone or use what they have written. No one else will be offended if you write it like this. However if you write it with out quoting them or use one of their ads it is considered stealing someones intellectual property.

If anyone has any insights or thoughts please send me a comment. If you would like to have some of your materials used in this blog let me know and I will add your information the LEGAL way.

Thanks for reading this!

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At 6:17 PM , Blogger Shelly said...

Excellent post Leslie! Thanks for your honest advice. I hope you don't mind, but I want to share the link to your blog on a few forums! Post stealing just isn't cool.


At 6:23 PM , Blogger Leslie said...

Yeah that's cool...cause really it was your idea...but I advised you on it so you half on it...ideas are intellectual property too!! Thanks for letting me ad my advice to your problem to help you with a solution..."the terms of these legal services were not that of an actual attorney" lol!! I had to say that!!

At 6:58 PM , Blogger Shelly said...


Love the additions you added to your Intellectual Property Blog article. As you know, my friend and I have been victims of thieves stealing our message board posts and/or articles that we post and removing our names and inserting their own. It is a shame that folks feel the need to do this sort of thing.


At 10:33 AM , Blogger Pete Belanger said...

Hi Leslie and Shelly,

What people don't understand is they would benefit better for doing it the right way (like Leslie as done here) than to copy it like Shelly and her friend have been experiencing.

They will "loose" points in the search engines for duplicate content instead of "gaining" points for a link to relevant content.

Don't sweat it to much, they gain absolutely nothing (actually they loose) and when they are uncovered, loose all credibility.

Keep posting and blogging, keep doing what you have been doing and people that copy end up going away fast, cause they realize they are getting nowhere.

At 8:14 PM , Blogger Shelly said...

Thanks Pete for your advice too! Leslie, I added your blog to my blog roll!


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