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More on copyrights

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Crystal Dragon:
Well, these boards have been open for a bit now and since a few posts have been made that violate copyrights, it seems like a good time to expand on item 14 in our TOS.

I know a lot of folks don't care to get into the legalities of a lot of issues, but it really is in your best interest to at least have a basic understanding of why certain things aren't allowed.  When someone writes something, they have put a lot of time, effort, and thought into it.  If they choose to post it on the internet, that doesn't mean they are posting so that anyone can steal it and add it to other websites.  Yes, I know, "steal" is a harsh word, but that is exactly what you are doing if you post copyrighted material without the authors permission.  I know we have a few authors here, and I'm pretty sure they'll be nodding in agreement when reading this.

And just because there isn't a copyright notice or a symbol noted doesn't mean the article, drawing, story, etc isn't copyrighted.  The way the legal system looks at it is that the item is assumed to be copyrighted unless permission to reprint is expressly stated.  In those cases, if there are conditions to be met (like a link-back with credit) then those conditions must also be met when posting such material.  As an example, Mike Nichols has this statement noted on pages where he is OK with folks reposting his work:

--- Quote ---Permission is given to re-publish this document only as long as no information is lost or changed, credit is given to the author, and it is provided or used without cost to others.
This notice represents an exception to the copyright notice found in the Acorn Guild Press edition of The Witches' Sabbats and applies only to the text as given above.
Other uses of this document must be approved in writing by Mike Nichols.

--- End quote ---

For those who may think "What do I care?  It's not my problem."  Well, it could be your problem.  I know of folks who've posted copyrighted material and forum owners have had to provide the injured party (the authors attorney) with the IP address and the real name and address of the person who posted the material.  Yes, you can be sued or fined and your service provider may fine you as well.  They can also go after the website and it's owner(s) where the material was posted ... ie, us.  We don't want this board shut down, nor do any of us want to have to deal with a lawsuit.  So yes, we are going to be hard-nosed about copyright issues.

The bottom line?  If you don't see a statement allowing you to repost an article, story, blog entry, picture, etc, don't post it here.  If you obtain permission from the author to post it, fine ... but send one of the admins a copy of that prior to posting it. ;)

Eternal Seeker:

As a professional writer, I endorse everything CD has said here. I have had my blogs plagerized a number of times, and every time I've found out, I've acted very aggressively. This may surprize some of you who have asked me for permission, because I've nearly always cheerfully given it. But stop and think- this is my livelyhood I'm protecting... where and how my words appear affects my reputation, which affects whether an editor buys or not- I've seen cases where it was not understood who the original author was, resulting in the author being accused of plagerizing his own words, which resulted in the author being blacklisted by a number of editors.

This applies not only to things you find elsewhere and post here, but also to things you find here if you post them elsewhere.  For example, some of the things I've posted here come from my own Illuminated Book of Shadows. I have graciously granted myself permission to use it. But if you post it on another site without asking, and I find it, I'll come down on them like a ton of soaked cats. And their problems would be your fault.

And who knows- legal [problems might not the only issue... I've been working on a curse for those who steal my words- a cleverer Pagan than I might have already perfected such a thing. So do like the nice lady says.


I also completely agree with everything CD has said.  I'll be the first to admit that I never thought about copyrites all that much until I had my associations reposted on a blog not long ago.  It came as such a shock to see my work out there looking as though it was written by someone else.  I would have been like ES and been more than happy to have allowed them to be posted as long as I'd been asked and credited, but that was not the case. 

I really hate having to be nasty with anyone, but the amount of time and effort I have put into doing the research and spending the time with the stones to have come up with those wasn't negligible and I WILL get nasty if I see them elsewhere and I haven't given permission for them to be there.

I'm glad the admins are being hard-nosed on this and I think we can all use some education on the topic. I recently was asked to write a research paper on one of Nichols' Sabbat essays and I could not believe the amount of websites that had just taken and copied his words without any attribution whatsoever. Not only is copying and replicating people's stuff unfair to them but it makes any sort of online research a real bugger. For the sake of accuracy of pagan lore, I think it's very important that the pagan community heed the copyright laws and do their best to reference any information that gets put out on the web.

Oh I know just how much of a pain in the tush copyright and intellectual property can be. From painful personal experience.

And strangely within the past few days as well.

I was yelled at by both sides in fact.

I posted a couple of stories that *I* wrote to a story site two years ago. I have recently re-posted them on a forum community (rather large one with hundreds of forum-ettes covering a wide range of interests) under my profile.

I was yelled at by the administrators of that forum community as I didn't have "permission" to re-post those stories from the original author. I had the administrator look at the admin-only information of my account and he saw my full name and I then told him to compare it to the name of the author of the stories. This calmed him down and it was agreed that I as the original author of the stories had the right to repost them on the site.

Then the other show dropped. I caught flak from the original site that I had posted the stories to in the first place. They didn't understand that "Skruddgemire" (my internet nom de plume) was the same as my real name posted on their site.  I also pointed out that there was nothing in the TOS or Submission Guidelines that stated that once a story was posted to their site it belonged to them.

So in the past week I had to put out two brush fires from the same source because of the concern over intellectual property.

So yeah folks, please get your ducks lined up in a row before posting something that is on another site. If you think it's worth a read for everyone, then post a link to it and state "Hey guys, this was really interesting, please give it a read so we can discuss it".

This way we can still enjoy it, can still comment and discuss it, copyright satisfied, and we don't have to have to hire a proctologist to surgically remove the lawyers who have crawled up into areas where having a one crawling up into would cause great discomfort


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