Someone stole my post!?!?!

Well, no, not actually. Nobody has stolen my posts -that I know of…. But the comment that T0715 gave on my post regarding the use of images really got me wondering about how safe what we write and what businesses write and post on websites, blogs, and other Social Media outlets really is?

Copyright – more than I expected

I did some research into copyrights and found that things had changed since my childhood memories! I remember going through the faze around 9-10 years old at primary school where we suddenly had come across the concept of copyright and every drawing that we drew, or story that we wrote we started drawing © at the bottom to say “this is mine, you can’t copy it”! 

However we now have international laws covering original works. The Berne Convention is an international treaty which ensures that the rights of someone who created a work in India for example has their rights protected not just in the originating country but also in those that are part of the convention. 

 

Image used under Creative Commons from Wikipedia’s wiki on the Berne Convention. The countries in blue are signatories under the convention.

 

Based on the above image there are very few countries NOT part of the Berne Convention. Which must be a good thing when you are talking about the global phenomenon of Social Media!

 

Did you know?  – cause I didn’t!

Did you know that as soon as you have written something, taken a photo of something, or recorded something it automatically has protection under copyright laws? I didn’t!. I always thought that you had to apply for copyright of your written works etc much in the same way that you have to apply for trademarks. The work doesn’t even have to be published to be covered! 

But what does this mean for me and my blog, and also my business with the pictures that we publish on the auction website that we do most of our sales through and our Facebook page?

It means that no one can take and use my work without my permission as soon as I have finished it and published online.

But what can I do if someone does?

Options for getting your rights back

There seems to be HEAPS of blogs and articles around what to do if someone copies your work. This blog talks about how you can leave it, or take action, and the methods of how to do that. Some methods (like contacting the offending persons provider) look to be more in depth than I would be worried about, but then I am not publishing anything (at this stage) that I would be worried about people using. This blog really talks about how the blogger protects her works, firstly by sending the offending person a note explaining that he work is copyrighted – please pay a fee for using it, pay her to write you something specific or remove it, and by the sounds of her blog she most of the time gets some kind of action. Her blog is really worth the read on this topic. One other blog worth mentioning is this blog where the blogger talks about using google alerts to search for your content, or how to use the webmaster tools to see how your page has been linked. The three mentioned above are some of the better blogs on the topic that I have come across and well worth the read!

I think for me, the big issue would be why the person is using my works. Are they using it to further my ideas and talk to more people about it? In this case I think I would be fine with them doing what I have above, spoken about someone else’s blog, but linked back to it so that my readers can read my original text. Or are they using it for an assignment like my own? In this case I would definitely want to be mentioned as being the author of the works where they got the idea. Or are they using it for monetary gains? Then I wonder if I would be ok with it? I think for my little business if someone were to buy something off me, and then sell it on I would be pretty upset if they used the image that we originally took and sold the garment with as the picture on their listing….. 

 

Its an interesting topic and one which I think everyone (not only those in business) who publishes work on the world wide web should look into. Firstly to make sure that you are not stealing someone else’s ideas, images or content, but also to ensure that someone else isn’t using your ideas for their own gain! 

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