The Internet is an Honor System. Now, All We Need Is Honor.

Posted on Nov 22, 2013
By Rhonda Hurwitz

If you read this blog, you know that valuing and protecting original content are topics we are passionate about.

Last week, the vexing issue of content piracy once again reared its ugly head in the blogosphere. And this instance was a real shocker.

In this case, a Fortune 100 company (Verizon) was the pirate, and Mark W. Schaefer, the author of a popular business blog, and Kerry Gorgone’s guest post, the targets.

In case you missed it, you can read about the details on Mark Schaefer’s blog {grow}, and in this column from Ragan Media.

The Copyright Symbol, Misunderstood: 4 Common Myths That Hurt Your Blog

Posted on Jul 10, 2013
By Rhonda Hurwitz

In our world of digital everything, copyright has become tricky business.

Every day we see widely adopted online practices that violate copyright.

Worse still, the Internet is full of copyright falsehoods and half truths that are mistakenly passed along, and believed to be accurate.

Misperceptions about copyright leads to copyright infringement, which hurts bloggers.

We’d like to set the record straight.

LicenseFriendly & Fair Use / Fair Dealing

Posted on May 14, 2013
By Dan Sauerhaft

Adjective. li·cense·friend·ly. Describes a website that simultaneously makes it (i) easy for users to license content and (ii) difficult for users to steal content. For example:

“The Daily Planet sure is licensefriendly! I licensed an article for republication on my blog today with a single click and for only $5. That was a no-brainer – especially since I know they monitor the internet for unauthorized reuses and go after pirates aggressively.”

As publishers try to solidify their online business models, they aim to distribute and republish content widely while monetizing it wherever it travels. This can conflict with fair use (U.S.) and fair dealing (Canada) which gives readers legal rights to reuse limited amounts of content in certain circumstances without compensation.

What publishers often don’t realize is that the best way to resolve this conflict is to make your website licensefriendly. Make it easy for folks to license your content easily, instantly, and at a reasonable price. At the same time, take steps to prevent piracy.

Canadian Copyright Law: Fair Dealing

Posted on Apr 29, 2013
By Dan Sauerhaft

We've written previously in this blog about the concept of fair use under U.S. copyright law, and its impact on publishers and folks reusing their content. In addition, our licensing service helps publishers provide tips to readers for evaluating when permission should be obtained to reuse content.

While copyright law in the United States has fair use exceptions to the prohibition against copying a work without permission of the owner, the analogous concept in Canada is called fair dealing. The concepts are not identical, and since iCopyright has an increasing number of Canadian publishers using its services we’ve decided to create Canada-specific language that Canadian publishers can display when their readers seek guidance on when a license is required.

Copyright and Fair Use: Keep Your Blog from Crossing The Line

Posted on Apr 18, 2013
By Rhonda Hurwitz

Bloggers have an innate desire to share, exchange, and discuss ideas.

The free exchange of ideas makes the blogosphere a uniquely engaging and inspiring place. One minute you’re reading a blog post that engages you, and before you know it, you are inspired to write your next post!

What then informs our ability to share and reuse each others’ content to research, write, and report through our own blogs?

The answer is that we are both protected and enabled by copyright law.

Embedded in U.S. copyright law are certain exceptions to copyright enforcement, known as fair use -- a legal defense for using another’s content without permission.

Copyright and Fair Use: Good News for Writers, Bad News for Content Scrapers (AP v Meltwater)

Posted on Apr 01, 2013
By Dan Sauerhaft

For anyone interested in copyright and fair use, the recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in the case of AP v Meltwater makes an interesting read.

Below I highlight the most interesting parts of the 83-page opinion, and in Part 2 of this series I draw implications for publishers, freelancers, and bloggers who are trying to earn a living by writing online.

The good news for writers? Despite the ease of digital copying, copyright protection for online articles and excerpts from articles isn’t going away, and writers can take steps to profit from that.

Does Your Website Suggest that Your Content is Free for the Taking?

Posted on Aug 24, 2010
By Andrew Elston

The Print, Email, and Share buttons adjacent to your copyrighted content may indeed suggest to your readers that they are free to reuse your content in any way they choose. Worse, a reader who reposts or redistributes your content (perhaps even profiting from it) may defend his or her actions by asserting that your article tools facilitated and even encouraged the reuse.

Yikes.

If you care about protecting your content from misappropriation and unauthorized distribution, you must read Wendy Davis’s “Blogger Sued by Copyright Troll Argues He Had ‘Implied License’” on MediaPost. Like any alleged copyright infringement case, there are unique twists to this particular situation, but aside from the legal issues there is a very simple business issue: Your content is valuable to others and they will use it to their advantage if you let them.