How do you control your creation once you put it anywhere other than the private screen of your own device? How do you prevent yourself from being charged with infringement of copyrights?
A piece is born, the child of skill and inspiration. Wrought into existence by the powers of creation gifted to the worthy. It seek the light, the attention of others, to expose the frailness of from and structure for all to feel. How proud you are, the aching parent, before you even know success, and more so after. I have made a thing.
A month later this begotten offspring shows up on your feed or in your search under a different title, a non-familiar “by” line. No credit. No source. No links to heal your hurts. Claimed. Stolen. Disowned.
What do you do?
1. Preform seppuku as you never registered for copyrights for your work and the metaphorical adoption files have been sealed, thus rendering your soulchild a stranger forever. Sucks to be you.
2. Call a lawyer with a screenshot or a link of your original posting and the repost, and / or send the original file, preferably both dated.
Put the knife away. By U.S. copyright law - Copyright is granted to a content creator the moment an idea is fixed into any tangible form. And yes, that does include words on paper / screen.
“Many people assume that online content, or content found on Web sites, is not subject to copyright law and may be freely used and modified without permission. This is not true. Others think that online content is not protected unless it carries a copyright notice. This is not true either.” (1)
Begin by gathering as many evidence as you can, especially proof of the reposter identity, and file for a “Cease and Decease”. In the case of a fully justified and documented legal win, restitution will be anywhere from $200 (in a case of "innocent infringement") up to $30,000 per work infringed. (3)
Also, contact Google. Using written content search and monitoring tools, you can locate reposts of your OC and get google to remove them from search result. Online content that is deemed “duplicate” or “low quality” can get completely booted from Google search results.
Do not take this for granted. Google’s operating mode does not mean your OC is safe. If someone gets higher ratings on their website than yours has, Google could interpret the situation as though you are the copyright infringer. It is, therefore, always in your interest to monitor your content. (2)
However, before we go out guns blazing crying for the blood of our wrongdoers, try contacting the person involved. Maybe they don’t even realise it’s a big deal, maybe they’ll get scared by being called out, only intending to lie in the safety of social webbing.
Now, what about making sure you can use other people’s materials without infringing upon anybody’s copyrights, or plagiarism? Basically, you can freely use any content as long as:
1. It was published before 1923.
2. The author expressly gave the content to the public domain.
3. It was published and copyrighted before 1989 and the copyright expired.
Do not despair, this doesn’t mean you need to go buy a shovel and go dig through the back storage of your local library for newspaper clipping from 1964. We do have the right for Fair Use!
“Fair use allows for short quotes from another work to enhance your own, as long as your usage does not in any way diminish the commercial value of the copyrighted content. ” and ALWAYS with citations and credit! - Learn more at: http://www.wedowebcontent.com/library/copyright-law-and-web-content-original-web-content/#sthash.r3D3A2oq.dpuf
See? Just like I did up there.
Make sure you give source and credit when you do use anything you’re not completely sure is not copyrighted, and even when you are. It is the right thing to do, wouldn’t you want the same to be done for you, even if someone is using your public domain content?
Feel free to use any piece of this blog post in any way you see fit, as I hereby expressly give this to The Public Domain.
Pic in article is “I made this” from http://nedroidcomics.tumblr.com/post/41879001445/the-internet