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The Know Your Rights Blog

  • MJ

It might seem basic common sense, but more often than not, clients are surprised when I remind them that they need to ensure they have proper permission for reuse of materials, as well as making certain that the rights holder receives proper credit. This is important for many reasons, the least of them so that the reader or observer of the material can refer back to the original source material if they so wish.

I came across this the other day in my readings, and found the credit line amusing. The person who posted this material is blatant in stating that they did not receive permission to reuse the illustration, but they do provide credit back to the original rights holder:

review no perm credit.png

What alarms me about the above "credit" and review is the accompanying illustration. Although you cannot see it for yourself, you will have to trust me here. While using a thumbnail of the cover of a book is usually deemed to be acceptable practice for reviews, taking an image off of the cover and posting that independent of the cover design is not.

As this particular piece is a review (providing critique of the original), it is true that this usage would be considered fair use, and the review's author would be unlikely to face a claim of copyright infringement.

It is also appropriate that the author of the review provides credit back to the original source, as well as information on how the interested reader might buy the book. But it doesn't excuse them from not getting proper permission for the reuse of the illustration out of context from the original cover.

Remember, even when the reuse seems to be innocent enough, it remains in the rightsholder's power to deny permission for any use. If you don't ask first, you might find yourself facing a copyright infringement suit.

#permission #creditlines #fairuse

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  • MJ

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?


Why is that?

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

Copyright provides a bundle of rights (or privileges) 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.

#copyright #permission #online #web #free

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Updated: Jul 27, 2020

Hello there and welcome to Gryphon Publishing Consulting's "Know Your Rights" blog! Here, we will post articles to help educate you on permissions and copyright, whether by highlighting interesting copyright news, links for additional reading on current issues and legislation, or other items we think you will find educational and fun in the world of copyright.

No, really. Copyright can be fun.


Ok, a serious topic indeed, but that doesn't mean we can't be amused while we learn. ;-)

There is an abundance of material in the really real world as well as on the internet that will help illustrate the intricacies of intellectual property, but they are not all by any means boring. Some stories will make you laugh while others will cause you to gape in amazement.

The aim here is to educate you on copyright in a fun and engaging way. We hope you learn. We hope you will engage with us.

And most of all, we hope you will come back to read again and again.

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