Copyright Laws In The Digital Age

The Internet has become so common among people that many forget the repercussions of sharing things online. It has become a part of everyone’s social life to create a meme, share photos or tag videos. Though this might sound normal to most, there are things to keep in mind when sharing content online.

The term ‘Googled’ is considered a normal verb not only for millennials, but also for those who rely on the Internet for information. It seems easier to copy and paste info online than to go to the library, stream through heaps of books, photocopy, cut and paste them into a board. It can be harder when you have to ask permission from someone if you wish to use their work.

Surprisingly, not many understand that it’s the same scenario online. Not everything you see over the web is free and you are not 100% leash-free if you wish to use the stuff for your own cause. For instance, when you go to Google images, you will see lots of photos from different websites after typing certain keywords. This doesn’t mean Google owns them and allows you to use them. It only means that you are seeing photos based on how they were indexed, just like how you would look for books inside a typical library. It is part of your duty to check if the material you are about to use is free from copyright because if not, the author has all the right to take legal action.

As they say, ignorance to the law is no excuse. Though most of people get away with their petty crimes, this does not mean that it’s okay to play with the legal system. Some companies are sued and forced to pay billions of dollars with simple things that they weren’t keen about. If you know that you like sharing content online and don’t want headaches in the end, make sure to check the author’s note.

Think before you click is probably the best phrase one can keep in mind these days. It’s not enough to look for a copyright symbol or a watermark on a picture to determine if it’s free. You can check if there is a Creative Commons license attached to it and see if the creator allows people to use his or her work publicly or not. Alternatively, you may also contact the publisher and ask permission to share the material if you are really eager to do so.

There are plenty of ways to share things online without breaking the law. You can also check out websites like creativecommons.org or enroll into short copyright licensing classes to familiarise yourself with copyright issues related to digital media.

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