If it's on the Internet, it's FREE!

February 13, 2015

I have lost count of how many times I have heard the statement "If it's on the internet, it's free to use." 

 

The truth is, copyright vests with the creator at the time of creation in a fixed format. No special registrations are necessary. This applies to all content: from photographs to books, artwork to websites (like this one). All content is protected by copyright as soon as it is set in a particular format. It's not copyrighted when it's sitting in your head (as an idea), but it is as soon as you write it down or sketch it out.

 

But for some reason, people like to make assumptions about all sorts of things online: "If it's on the internet, it must be true." Seriously, people, do you really believe everything you read?

 

I didn't think so. 

 

So why do you believe that something posted on a website is free for the taking? Simply because you pick up a book in a library, does that mean that you are free to rip off the cover or highlight the pages? Does the license you have to drive a car allow you to pick a random side of the street to drive down depending on your whim?

 

No?

 

Why is that?

 

Because there are inherent rights and responsibilities with each of these priveleges. And if you are not responsible with the rights you have been granted, you may lose the privelege.

 

Copyright provides a bundle of rights (or priveleges) to the author/creator of the material. It is up to the creator to determine who can use the material in another format, location, or language. Even only a portion of a work is protected by copyright, and it's within a creator's rights to refuse reuse in any form for any reason.

 

As a reader of this website, you are free to learn about Gryphon Publishing Consulting, look at my photo, and send me an email, but you cannot copy and paste these words and present them as your own. Those rights belong to me, and I can certainly allow you to use these words, but only with my written permission. I might not charge you for the reuse, but you still have to get my permission.

 

Just because it is on the internet doesn't make it free.

 

 

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