Thursday, 29 July 2010

What Web Writers Want You to Know About Online Sharing

I started my morning having to deal with not one, but two, copyright violations. Two different individuals had "borrowed" entire articles I wrote and republished them without my permission. Only they weren't "borrowing" anything. They had committed theft.

There are some people out on the web who intentionally steal others' work, but I have come to believe a lot of copyright violation is due to laziness, ignorance of how copyright works, and confusing copyright with plagiarism. I'm sorry to say I have no miracle cures to offer for laziness, but I hope I can help to clear up the confusion around copyright here.

What is copyright?
There are a good number of sites that explain copyright in detail, so I'm not going to do that. What I will do is simplify it. At the most basic level, copyright is the right of an author to determine under what circumstances a work will be copied.