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5 Laws Writers Should Adhere

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Sour Lemons

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E-Book authors, bloggers or internet writers: do you know how to stay on the right side of the (copyright) law?  You don’t have to be legally trained or a lawyer to understand the laws that govern internet content and blogging. Here are the most important ones:
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1. Use of images from other websites and blogs
You do not have permission to use just any image you find on the internet.  But how can you legally use images?  You can simply buy royalty-free images and not have to worry about copyright. Or you can ask for permission to use it when you find an image you like on someone else’s website. A sign of good manners and a thank you to the creator is to have a link to his site and/or giving him credit.

Another great source to find free images is to visit the Creative Commons photos on sites such as Morguefile or Flickr. These photos do not have copyright restrictions and show Creative Common attributes, such as “share” or “non-commercial use.”  No matter which photos you use, it’s still polite and shows professionalism, to link to the original web page or give credit to/naming the photographer.
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2. Disclose paid endorsements
Bloggers and internet content writers must be open with the fact that they are being paid to use, promote, or review a product.  Do not claim to be an objective third-party when you are not.  Make it perfectly clear which information is editorial and which is advertising. This also means labeling links that drive to your Amazon affiliates, or building a page that explains all of your affiliates and relationships. Hello BookBub and others in this field!
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3. Deep linking and framing
It may surprise bloggers and internet content writers whether deep linking is even legal.  Deep linking is where you write a blog post and then link to another website in that post. However, you don’t link directly to the homepage: you link to a page buried on the site.  From the perspective of a blogger, it makes more sense to link directly to the page that you are referring to than it does to link to the home page, and then hope the reader can find the information you are referring to.
On the other hand, deep linking and framing are such accepted SEO practices that there is no reason you should worry that someone might sue you if you deep link to their site. In fact, most people encourage the practice since it brings exposure to their site.
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4. User-developed content
Comments, reviews or guest posts on your blog, you do not own the content: – the original author owns it. The best way to deal with this issue is to create very clear terms on how you will manage user-developed content. State in your site’s terms of use: you will take the liberty to do with the comments as you please, or that you will remove them if someone requests it.  You also can require a minimum amount of information so you can avoid anonymous comments or that you will delete comments if and when you close your blog. If these terms are stated clearly and openly, you shouldn’t have much of a problem when it comes to the law and user-developed content.
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5. Protect visitor’s private information
Privacy on the internet is a huge issue and people are worried that their identities will be stolen, bank accounts will be drained or that the government will watch their internet path if they don’t protect their privacy. What is your responsibility when it comes to your user’s information? Of course if you run an e-commerce site, you need to protect their information with secure pages. But what if you are simply collecting an email address?  Have a clear privacy policy on your website. It could be as simple as “We promise never to rent, sell or share your email address.” Or it could be more elaborate, with an entire page dedicated to it, depending on how much information you collect.

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However what should you do when someone steals YOUR internet content?
If you are creating compelling content, someone might take it and uses it on their site. Sometimes they do it without knowing that they are breaking the law. They may even give you credit and link to your website. If you want to protect your work, send them an email and let them know that what they are doing is copyright infringement. If you are dealing with a reasonable person, they will probably apologize and take your content down.  If you’re dealing with somebody who does not comply, you might consider pursuing legal action which might be difficult and expensive – if you did not register the copyright for your content.
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Register and you will receive compensation for legal costs etc.
How can you protect yourself from plagiarism?  Invest $35 in your book and obtain a registered copyright. You will then be able to command a higher claim from a thief of your content/images: you can collect “Statutory Damages”  plus all your Attorney fees.
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You can usually discourage people from taking your content by putting a copyright symbol on the footer of your website so it appears on every page, also your work is protected by copyright law the moment you publish it. Even if you don’t have a copyright symbol, you are still protected.
On the other hand: some authors consider the value of spreading their work through copying to be worth more than protecting and defending their rights.
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Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons

http://www.jeremynicholl.com/blog/2011/06/13/the-10-rules-of-us-copyright-infringement/

http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus71-ftcs-revised-endorsement-guideswhat-people-are-asking

http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter6/6-c.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_aspects_of_hyperlinking_and_framing

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/copyright/copyrightarticle/hypertextlinking

http://cde.athabascau.ca/online_book/ch9.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_privacy

http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/what-every-writer-needs-to-know-about-copyright/

http://baneromics.blogspot.ca/2010/06/user-created-content-wins.html

http://ucc-usa.org/what-is-user-created-content/

http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/re-blogging-vs-copyright-infringement/

http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/outsmart-thieves-of-your-content-part-1/

http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/outsmart-thieves-of-your-content-part-2/

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $ 159 for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/ Once you are on this website, click on Seminar to register.

Please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are 815 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and to StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

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Outsmart Thieves of Your Content – Part 2

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Caution-Slippery

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Does your book / website / blog contain your own images?

Photographer Jeremy Nicholl wrote a great blog post about his own experiences with copyright infringement and created a 10 point plan to follow.  Anyone can register written words or images at the US Copyright office, and does not need to live in the States.

Jeremy lives in Moskau, Russia, but thank goodness registered his images in the USA – and it paid handsomely for him. He advises: “Register your images at the US Copyright Office. The country may be a Berne signatory, but in practice the USA has a dual copyright system: major protection and zero protection. Unregistered images get the latter: lacking the option for punitive damages and legal expenses it’s financially impractical to chase infringers, and they know it!  Registered images carry the potential for $150,000 compensation per infringement plus legal costs: so what’s to think about?”

“Your small-time infringer may be a bigger player than you think. At a casual glance my infringer was a cuddly-looking blog: indeed its sister site was once caught heisting an image from Flickr, and when the owner complained people told him “lighten up, it’s just a blog”. But a few seconds research revealed that both sites are owned by one of the world’s largest media companies, which bought my infringer’s site a few years ago. The price? Ten million dollars. And that for a site so cheap that I caught it swiping images from iStock rather than pay the $1 asking price.”   Read his great blog post (and some very useful comments) on his site jeremynicholl.com
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Photographers no longer need to heavily blemish their work out of fear of theft on the internet. The technology exists to find commercial infringements. Two website tools will help you – for free:

Google Images
You can find a preexisting copy of your image. Just select “Similar Images” to find other copies that may exist.

Tineye 
It is also a handy tool but if shows more international websites/blogs, rather than commercial US infringements through their software.

It is very important to have at least one noticeable watermark on the image. Add a “© and your photographer name” in font size 10 in the lower right or left corner, which is non-invasive but still states clearly the copyright.
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Claims in US Courts:
Sure, your manuscript has copyright from the moment you put “pen to paper.” However, if you did not register your copyright officially – or after the infringement happened – you can only sue for “Actual Damages” – not so easy to demonstrate! Invest $35 in your book or photograph and obtain a registered copyright. You will then be able to command a higher claim from an infringer: you can collect “Statutory Damages” plus all your Attorney fees:

  • If you have registered your work before infringement, you can collect Statutory Damages plus attorney fees.
  • If you registered after infringement, but before filing suit, you can only sue for Actual Damages – which you have to demonstrate.
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Necessary Content of Copyright Notices in Your Book:

  • The symbol © or the word “Copyright”
  • The year of first publication of the work
  • The name of the owner or creator

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Where to Register?

Canada:
online to the Copyright Office, Canadian Intellectual Property Office
(fee Can $50)
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USA:
online to the U.S. Copyright Office,
via the Library of Congress (fee US $ 35)
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United Kingdom:
online UK Copyright Service
(online registration are £39.00 for 5 years or £64.00 for 10 years per work/package)
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An attorney is not necessary at all to register your manuscript. You can register on-line (which is cheaper) or by snail mail. Copyright registrations become effective the day on which application and payment are received at the office, but it may take months until you receive the certificate.
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Infringers might use “fair use” to their defense.

Are you familiar with the term fair use? Just because they provide attribution and/or a link back to the original doesn’t mean they are free and clear. Fair use has nothing to do with attribution.

A good example of fair use of an image to use online is product reviews. If you want to review a book, a new piece of technology, a food product or whatever widget, you will likely want to include a photo. Other reasons (e.g. for written content) could be for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research.
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Fair use means one is allowed to infringe on someone’s copyright and you can’t do anything about it. If their use is covered by fair use, they even don’t have to provide attribution (although it would be nice). The question is:

  • Why are they using the image/text?
  • Did they transform the image/text?
  • Use for commercial or non-profit purposes?
  • How much of the image/text are they using?
  • Effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

Read more about fair use at the SocialMediaExaminer
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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book heavily promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only a “token” of $1 / day for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/ Once you are on this website, click on Seminar to register.

Please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are 810 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and to StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing

http://on.fb.me/TvqDaK

http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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What Every Writer Needs to Know About Copyright

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Justitia- Copyright

Justitia Copyright

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It is not required for an author to register your work or even provide a notice. But… there are reasons to protect yourself and what you created.  Copyright means the sole right to produce or reproduce a work in any form. And in most countries, a work – such as literature, music or software – is automatically protected as soon as it is created. Excluded are ideas, titles, names, facts and short phrases.
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On the other side: proving your claim can be a very difficult matter without proper evidence. Often it boils down to a case of “their word against yours”. Without proper protection, work that you have created, could end up making money for someone else.
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Whenever you write something on paper or typed on a computer, it is copyrighted and protected under U.S. copyright law.  If someone steals your work and presents it as his own, the burden of proof falls on you to show that you created it first and that you own the copyright – which can be difficult.  For better protection, consider to officially register your work for approx. $45 per manuscript with the US Copyright Office.  So, if anyone steals your manuscript, you will not only have proof of copyright ownership, but  you are also able to sue for Statutory Damages and attorney fees.
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Claims in US Courts:

  • If you have registered your work before infringement, you can collect Statutory Damages plus attorney fees.
  • If you registered after infringement, but before filing suit, you can only sue for Actual Damages – which you have to demonstrate.
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Necessary Content of Copyright Notices in Your Book:

  • The symbol © or the word “Copyright”
  • The year of first publication of the work
  • The name of the owner or creator
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Where to  Register?

Canada:
online to the Copyright Office, Canadian Intellectual Property Office Web site
http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca (fee Can $50)

USA:
online to the U.S. Copyright Office, via the Library of Congress
http://www.copyright.gov (fee US $ 35)

United Kingdom:
online UK Copyright Service
http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk (online registration are £39.00 for 5 years or £64.00 for 10 years per work.)
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An attorney is not necessary at all, to register your manuscript. You can register on-line (which is cheaper) or by snail mail. Copyright registrations become effective the day on which application and payment are received at the office, but it may take months until you receive the certificate. 

Being on the Copyright Register also helps with finding you as the owner when permission to use a work is sought.  This can be very lucrative for the owner of registered copyright because they can easily be found to license their work and can charge fees/royalties for its use.  Even for succession planning it is very important to have copyright registered, as it provides the owner with an easily transferable and valuable asset.
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Check out this blog post, which gives lots of tips what to do in case copyright infringements happen.  The blogger talks about a photograph, that was unlawfully used, but for your blogs or books, the steps are the same:
http://www.jeremynicholl.com/blog/2011/06/13/the-10-rules-of-us-copyright-infringement/

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More regulatory sources for USA, Canada and the UK:
Copyright Portal
Canadian Guide to Copyright
UK Copyright Law

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book heavily promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only a “token” of $1 / day for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/seminar

Please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are 780+ of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and to StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing

http://on.fb.me/TvqDaK

http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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Posted by on June 16, 2013 in All things Legal

 

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Why Should You Register the Copyright of Your Manuscript?

Copyright Notice Listing

Copyright Notice Listing


It is not required for an author to register your work or even provide a notice. But… there are reasons to protect yourself and what you created.

Copyright means the sole right to produce or reproduce a work in any form. And in most countries, a work – such as literature, music or software – is automatically protected as soon as it is created. Excluded are ideas, titles, names, facts and short phrases.

However, proving your claim may be a very difficult matter without proper evidence. Often it boils down to a case of “their word against yours”. Without proper protection, work that you have created, could end up making money for someone else.

Claims in US Courts:

• If you have registered your work before infringement, you can collect Statutory Damages plus attorney fees.
• If you registered after infringement, but before filing suit, you can only sue for Actual Damages – which you have to demonstrate.

Content of Copyright Notices in Your Book:

• The symbol © or the word “Copyright”
• The year of first publication of the work
• The name of the owner or creator

Where to Submit

Canada: online to the Copyright Office, Canadian Intellectual Property Office Web site
http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca (fee Can $50)

USA: online to the U.S. Copyright Office, via the Library of Congress
http://www.copyright.gov  (fee US $ 35)

United Kingdom: online UK Copyright Service
http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk  (online registration are £39.00 for 5 years or £64.00 for 10 years per work. Uploads over 10MB are subject to a fee of 3p per additional MB)

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Copyright registrations become effective the day on which application and payment are received at the office, but it may take months until you receive the certificate.

Sources:

Copyright Portal
http://portal.brint.com/cgi-bin/cgsearch/cgsearch.cgi?query=copyrights

Canadian Guide to Copyright
http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/h_wr02281.html

UK Copyright Law
http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p01_uk_copyright_law
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