Using external sources and staying within copyright laws

The use of external resources when creating a web page is nothing new. However, if you want to make sure your own site falls within the internet codes of conduct: rules and regulations must followed, and a very important rule is copyright. You may have heard of this with regards to music and video downloads, but it actually covers everything that can be considered to be the intellectual property of someone else.

What does copyright cover?

In basic terms, the copyright of something belongs to the person who owns the intellectual property for that piece. An author owns the intellectual property for their book, therefore if you want to use excerpts of it for a blog, or turn it into a play or movie, then you must seek the permission of the owner of the copyright. If you want to quote a character from the book you would have to cite the source. This is often as a footnote at the end of the blog or article post.

If you need to use something bigger than a character quote, or you want to sample someone else’s music alongside your own on your blog or video channel, you are likely to need written permission for this. Cases of copyright infringement have gone to court and have cost thousands of pounds in fines for those who didn’t attain the right permissions.

Who needs to know this?

It doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home parent blogging about day-to-day events as a way to pass your time, if you are a multi-national company with a detailed website covering everything from sales to technical information, or finding out about share prices or if you are a teenage. You-tubers posting music videos, beauty tippers, or life hacks also have to follow the same rules. If you want to use someone else’s material, then seek permission.

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