Copyright Infringement and the Web

Posted by Rachel Nauen

Is it the easy cut and paste motion or the “missing” copyright page? Is it the anonymous feel of the Internet? Maybe people in our nation are simply just unfamiliar with copyright law and the Web. Regardless of why people are disregarding copyright law, copyright infringement with Internet content is a serious issue that seems to be on the rise.

In today’s day and age, copyright law is a blur of confusion. “There is no doubt that in 2011, copyright law isn’t what it was in 1976. The web (and mobile) have all forced the aging statute to evolve in ways that were never anticipated in a world of digital everything,” writes Kaiser Wahab, a Media, Tech and Venture attorney in New York. “Recognizing copyright holders’ uphill battle, the government appears prepared to experiment with aggressive enforcement strategies, at the price of burdening free speech, due process, and fair play.”

The government and copyright holders are ready to crack down on copyright infringement. Protect yourself and learn about copyright law. If you did not create the article, picture or piece, you need permission before you can copy or use it. However, there is one exception – FAIR USE. Under the fair use clause you can use small portions of a copyrighted work for reporting and educational use, as long as it does not destroy the commercial value of the work. Do not forget to credit the work to the author or designer.

Do you use material on the Web in the correct way? Why do you think others disregard copyright on Web content more than they do print content?

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3 responses to “Copyright Infringement and the Web

  1. Kelly Hendricks

    I do use material from the Web the correct way but I feel like that’s because I was taught how to use it. I really don’t think people necessarily disregard copyright laws on the Web, I think its more so the fact that they don’t know what the laws are and what they can and cannot use. As for comparing that with print content, it seems more common that people go to the internet for information rather than print now. For research assignments, I always have more sources from online than from books — I think that’s because of how much our society has adapted to technology and how much we rely on it now.

  2. Even though I’ve learned about copyright law in numerous classes, I still have trouble with it at times. The other day, I wanted to use a picture taken by someone else as the picture for my profile on a website. However, I wasn’t sure of the restrictions the owner placed on the file, so I thought I’d rather be safe and not use it than be sorry later. It’s a difficult thing to learn, especially since technology is continually changing.

  3. I agree. When people infringe on copyrighted Web content it is usually due to ignorance, not malice. I think that teachers in middle school (that is when people start writing research papers, correct?) should make sure students know the in and outs of copyright law and the Web.

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