Copyright infringement laws—Protect Your Fans & Yourself

From The Thieves!

Let’s face it, on-line magazines and newsletters are sprouting up all over the web today!  Thus this makes it harder for the people who are doing this for the right reasons to keep things fresh, live, real, and rockin’ .  Positive promotions work!  Networking with the right people creates successful business for both parties.

Why is everyone “trying to do it”????  First let’s look at the “big picture”.  Everyone seems to think, “hell, that’s easy I might as well just do it too”.  Well it’s not as easy as you think if you are being truly honest with your readers.

As a writer first, it takes long hours of research and development to build good writing techniques.  As a photographer, it takes a unique focus on the subject matter to create that masterpiece.  As an artist, we know how long and hard it is to finish a product.  Building a website may be easier these days with templates set up that you just fill up with content; however the content is what makes your own work stand out.  This is what brings the fans and readers back to you.  Have you ever been to an arts and crafts show and saw someone take a piece of work and try to turn it upside down and inside out to “do it themselves”?  Why do people do these kinds of things in the first place?  Well, to sum it all up, everyone thinks they can do what someone else has done “better, or cheaper, or just because”…. It’s human nature to want what someone else has, and it shows the beast we have hidden within us.  There’s that little thing called “greed” that makes us become “monsters”.  But what about the “right thing to do”, that little thing called “ethics”.

Ask yourself this.  How long do you want to write content for a website?  How much time and effort do you want to put into building a business?  In a sense, you are building a business and a partnership with your clients whether it is that first interview, written article, video, photograph, etc.  Each piece should have a purpose.  Each thought should be original as the idea when it popped into your mind.  Your readers focus on you because they like you and they love what you are doing.  They understand what it takes to bring them the best articles and they come back for more!

Why do you want to build an on-line site?  Is it for good intentions, positive promotions, getting your name out there, fun or a hobby, a real business?  As long as you are being honest with yourself first these are proper reasons to proceed with your project.  If you are doing it to “get free stuff”, “go to a free concert”, “party like a rock-star”, “cause hate and discontent”, then you might want to put your reputation on the line first!  What kind of person are you…inside and out?  What kind of a legacy do you want to leave behind someday?  A good editor knows that honesty is the best policy.  A good writer knows that a great story has to come from the heart or the root of the idea; not somebody else.

Ask yourself:  How will you feel in 10 years?  What will your family think?  How will what you do affect your child?  Are you telling the truth?  Would you want people to remember you this way?  How will you feel if you have lied and it caused a hardship on someone else?  Do you have true ethics?  Can you be professional at all times?  How will your work reflect upon someone else?  Are you simply a “copy cat”? What do you really hope to gain with your project?  Protect yourself from the thieves!  Here are some rules about copyright you should know:

  • The length of a copied document does not matter, nor does the amount you may have copied; even a copying a small portion of a document may cause you to be liable for copyright infringement.  If you like the article, then write it in your own words and not just copy someone else’s work!  Where are your ethics and morals????  Are you being honest and true to YOUR fans, readers, and followers????  Are you being TRUE TO YOURSELF!
  • A copyright notice (i.e. ©) is generally not required for a work to be protected by copyright law.  If you write it down, it’s YOURS!  YOU own IT!  Once you have put your thoughts on paper, it’s your copyright.  It’s yours.  But it has more protection for you if you need to present the evidence in court when you actually go through the copyright process.
  • Distributing documents containing copyrighted content without the copyright owner’s permission is a violation of copyright law even if you give the document away for free.  So be careful what you are sharing, if you care about the reputation and the professional ethics of a true business person then you will do the “right thing”.  There’s no real achievement in being unprofessional!  Eventually you will lose the fans you have, and possibly the friends or business acquaintances you have made.  Nobody wants to be shafted, and people don’t like being a victim of a thief.
  • There is no exception for private copying in U.S. law. Even if you share a work with only a small group of your friends or family, you could still be liable for copyright infringement!  (This means copying content on any website, forum, etc. and using it as ‘your own content’ without the written permission by the owner, company, business, etc. and/or without the link to the originator’s site….bascially, you are simply being a thief just to create an on-line magazine!) So why don’t you write your own content if you are serious about becoming successful.  Otherwise, you are just another con/scammer on the net!  It will catch up to you sooner than you think!  If you had a good reputation when you started, it will soon be tarnished beyond repair.
  • You can still be held liable for copyright infringement even if you give attribution to the owner or Author of the copyrighted content!  Stop stealing!!!!  This can be confusing when many sites have the “share feature”, but this was intended to spread the word with a positive impact on the root source. It’s always best to get written permission first!
  • Even if you used your creativity to make a new document that contained another person’s copyrighted work, you may be liable for copyright infringement.  Get original, or get out!!!  Stop being a “fake”!
  • Even if there are documents on the site similar to the one you uploaded, you may be liable for copyright infringement if you upload an unauthorized document!  Get the owner’s permission in writing first, and stop being so ignorant!  All of your hard work will go right down the ladder of success once people know the truth about you.
  • The only way that you can know for certain that a document does not infringe anyone else’s copyright is if you created the entire document yourself (including any images) without using anyone else’s copyrighted work.

A fresh content takes lots of hard work!  If you are just stealing someone’s work for content, then you obviously don’t want to share your real talents with your readers.  If you are a “fake”, “con”, etc ; it takes time but when you are discovered for your lies and deceit it goes a long way with the honest people who want to see some respect and hear the truth.  Some people believe they can smell a rat a mile away, and I know that as a personal rule I choose to distance myself from people who are dishonest.  Personally I don’t understand why anyone would want to go to the trouble of imitating another person unless they had good intentions and wanted to merge into a long lasting friendship.  Some of the best partnerships are made because of business people doing the right thing, living with ethics that are good solid characteristics, and showing the enthusiasm it takes to build stronger to last longer!

You have to stay professional at all times!  Even if you don’t like what the other person is doing, let them fall flat on their face.  Stop spreading hate as you are only hurting the industry you are trying to preserve and promote.  Do not use their ideas and change your pages to look like theirs.  Compliments are one a form of flattery, but stealing is stealing!  Be original!  Stay UNIQUE!!!  Do your own thing and then be proud of it.  Focus on using your energy to work smarter.  Show your enthusiasm, and new ideas will come to you.  Be able to have a sense of worth deep in your heart.  Feel good about what you are doing at all times.  You never know when someone will pull a skeleton out of the closet.  Be your best.  Do your best.  Stay real, stay honest, stay strong!

Use professional services to get your content if you can’t do it on your own!  Get involved with the fresh writers who want to contribute, and make sure to “search their credentials” as a writer.  Many times you will find that people in personal media have sites set to “private”.  These people are usually not “professional media” and they probably do not have the best intentions.  If they are truly on the up, they will want people to see what they have written, done, etc.  It’s the same with an artist, photographer, journalist, etc.  You just don’t steal someone’s work and put your name on it as your own.  This is why it is always a good idea to do a web search or background check first.  Find out who you are really dealing with!  (Ex:  Did you know you can take parts of a sentence and “google” it to find out the sources?  It may even surprise you as to where it actually came from.  You may discover copyright infringement.)

If you use press releases for your content, list them as such on your site.  Put a PR (Press Release) page on the site for world news.  The people who send you these things do it because they trust you and your business.  They want to build a positive working relationship with you.  Do the same in return!  If you are using a shared site’s information, put a segment of the piece on your site to take them to the “real article” to compliment them for their work.  This will pay off better for your business in the long run.  If you are in an affiliate or partnership program, then you already know your ground rules.  Network with the right sources.  Build a strong fan-base by doing things with good intentions!

Another thing, when you have a “verbal contract” (between two or more people and it is agreed upon) do exactly what you said you are going to do or you can be sued personally as well as a business!  If you use any photo(s) to build your artist, band, personal, etc. banner, logo, social site, professional website but you do not provide the link to the owner’s work and/or you do not put the owner’s name on their work, you can be sued for breach of contract and copyright infringement, even if you share those rights!

Don’t ever post any photos anywhere without putting the owner’s artist name on each piece!  If you upload photos without giving the owner the credit they are due for their work, you have violated copyright law!  Make sure the people sharing your content know who actually did the work.  Give them the credit they deserve.  They own it, not you!  You may think you have “nothing to lose”, but you have already lost.  You just don’t know how bad, yet!

This means watch what you use as your own on social sites, (Ex: facebook, myspace, flickr, photobucket) and other photo sites, business sites, etc.  Remember always, business is business and sometimes you have to separate friendship from business.  Pull out those weeds, and let the flowers bloom!  Please be true to your readers, artists, record labels, media, other competitors, etc.  If you can’t be honest, then you’re just not real.  You aren’t helping anyone in the long run. 

Using someone else’s work to build your content on line just to get into a “free show” is childish, immature, and morally wrong!  Going through the “back doors” to sneak into a venue is dishonest.  Telling lies about other media to make your own self look better is unprofessional, unethical, and downright dirty!  You will look like the fool once the truth comes out!

Play the game right, or just don’t play at all.

If you read the true facts from the prominent business world, you will find that working together with the competitor(s) brings great success to everyone!  Networking and other marketing tips that really work well can be found through various resources.  Build a better community by surrounding yourself with great people.  Get to know people who started small and worked their way to the top.  Listen to those who have been in a business relationship before.  Check out the facts.  Do your research.  Write your own content!

Compliment each other and share the success so everyone climbs to the top!  Stop violating copyright laws.


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