The WPBeginner team has been in New York City for Blog World Expo East over the last few days. We have the pleasure of sharing interesting sessions with you while you are here, such as this panel presented by Randy Adler, Christopher Prince Boucher, Jessica Kantor, and Bob Knorpp.
Every day, online content competes with traditional print media. However, unlike print media, online content is a space where copyright rules are ambiguous. Content sharing is huge on blogs but much less so in traditional media, making it especially difficult for major news organisations to transition from print to blog without some growing pains.
The truth is that people will find and distribute your information. If you don’t give them a way to interact with you and get your permission to share your content, they’ll either steal it or torrent it. Unfortunately, the legal world places the burden on the copyright owner to protect and police their copyright, so if you suspect copyright infringement but don’t know who or how, you’re out of luck.
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The law of intellectual property is more theoretical than legal. The copyright holder is the knight in shining armour for their defenceless copyright, but there is no legal requirement that you do so. You can allow infringement or police it, but the panel believes that allowing users to share without fear of infringement is the best option. You enable interaction without infringement by providing safe sharing options.
But what about the legal ramifications of content aggregators? When sharing someone else’s content on your blog, you can either parse the first few lines of the content before linking or briefly summarise why you think the person should read the content before linking. Then, before you post, ask the creator of the content for permission to post in writing (email works well for this). Many people skip this step, but if your blog is ever taken down for infringement, this may be the only way to prove you had permission to use that person’s content. This is a time-consuming process, so if you frequently link to a source, contact them and request permission to repost.
When it comes to images, your best bet is to take the time to find and use your own. This prevents potential copyright infringement and allows you to post truly unique image content. If you go this route, a copyright symbol, your first and last name, and the year the image was taken watermarked along the bottom of the photo will suffice to allow you to claim copyright infringement later on if someone steals your image.
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If you do not want to or are unable to create your own images, contacting the owner is another way to avoid future copyright issues. Always include a link to and credit for the author with each image. This prevents problems in the future. Failure to do so (or doing so but failing to keep a record of consent) exposes you to the possibility of problems later on.
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