I am an honest person, but I make mistakes. In fact, thousands of well-meaning bloggers like me may be guilty of copyright infringement. I have been accused of this and outed by my online community, and I want to share my story with you.
I copied an article from this site in its entirety with proper credit to the original author and opednews.com at the top. I copied it just as it appeared on the web to my favorite progressive community blog. I also included a hyperlink to the original article on Opednews.com. It was clear that I did not claim responsibility to the work. Since I am well known in this on-line community for my views on 9-11, it was obvious I agreed with the authors of these insightful articles.
I have submitted a few articles to OpEdnews.com, and though they aren't overly popular or earth-shattering, I would appreciate it if anyone felt they were worthy of reposting somewhere else. Because I am an amateur, I never would have thought of copyright violations and thought they may be part of the public domain once I posted them on the web. I have learned that this is a very common myth.
According to Stanford University's Fair Use and Copyright page:
"As a practical rule, you should always start with the presumption that, if the creative work you want to use was first published after 1922, copyright law protects it. There are only two ways that a work published after 1922 is not protected: the owner of the work made a mistake (such as failing to renew the copyright); or the work does not meet the minimum standards for copyright protection."
I quoted the above paragraph word for word from the Stanford University website, yet that was not a copyright infringement because of what's known as Fair Use.
According to Stanford University, "If a creative work is protected under intellectual property laws, your unauthorized use may still be legal. This is because there are exceptions to each of the laws protecting creative work --situations where authorization is not required. For example, under copyright law, a principle known as fair use permits you to copy small portions of a work for certain purposes such as scholarship or commentary. Under the fair use doctrine, you could reproduce a few lines of a song lyric in a music review without getting permission from the songwriter (or whoever owns the copyright in the song)."
Since I copied the OpEdNews.com articles in their entirety, according to this, I should have obtained permission from the owner. This was also the view of Brian Rothenburg, the Director of my favorite local Progressive Community blog, Progress Ohio. He states in the e-mail to me explaining their position to remove me and my offending posts, "Quoting a document in part and then commenting is fair use. Quoting in full is a copyright issue."
I am no lawyer, and now I wonder if I should have obtained reprint permission from the authors, OpEdNews.com or both? Is there a page or blog entry on OpEdNews.com that covers this subject? I know we are all too busy with all the other atrocities in our country to really think about this issue, but I want to know for sure what I can do in the future... (so I can legally inform others of the more important issues affecting all of us!!!)
If there are other authors like me who would like their articles to be included in other public forums, is there be a place for us to give permission for other bloggers and publishers to more easily use our material? Personally, I would love for OpEdNews to be a free-use site. I just learned about Creative Commons today which allows authors to choose their own level of copyright protection. Perhaps this will empower OpEdNews.com to grow further!
We the people need a way to make the AP (American Propaganda) outdated and "of little practical significance." I love Opednews.com, many of the OpEdNews.com authors, commenters and Rob. It is my intention to honor all of this site's policies and authors. One reason I reposted these articles was to provide another soap box for what is said here. Now it seems my intentions may have misfired... I am in pretty big trouble with my favorite on-line community because of this, and let's face it, now I risk being in trouble with my favorite news site because of my confession!
Hopefully all involved in my misconceptions(?) will forgive me (their material has been taken down) but an even more productive outcome of all of this would be a known policy of article-sharing here at OpEdNews.com.
I distribute movies that are freely shared by their creators to educate the public. I know we all have to pay the bills, yet some things are too important to keep to ourselves.
I hope there is a way we can co-operate to make it easier to spread the word of our world. Many authors, artists, activists and movie directors have been extremely generous in sharing the truth with our fellow citizens. I don't really know the official policy of this site, but I think I understand its heart.
Yes, this article was submitted by the original author, but who am I except a sum total of all of the people that came before me? What original thought can I form that hasn't been influenced by a hundred people that drew me toward it? I am but one voice, but the echo of many.
To me, the intent of OpEdNews.com is to inform the population through feeds, banners, links, other sites and search engines. I think I captured the intent of that mission by reposting the material, but if I violated the terms of service through copyright infringement, I want to know. I wouldn't want to violate OpEdNews.com's policy from the respect I have for those who are here, but if I could, I would want to influence the policy toward an empowered environment of sharing.