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 Thoughts on Copyright........


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Thoughts on Copyright: The Do's and Dont's of Copying Images off the Web.
© Brad W Foster (of course!)

In general, with regards to copying images off the web, if you follow these simple guidelines, you won't go wrong:


If you didn't create it, you don't own it.
If you don't own it, you can't copy or distribute it.
If you want to use it, ask permission.
Hey, just ask me!

   It's very flattering if someone likes my work enough to want to put it up on their own websites. But using my stuff without asking me can cause all kinds of trouble for both of us. And it doesn't have to be that way.
   The bottom line is, as an artist, I make my living not only by selling my original artwork, but also by selling the rights to reproduce that artwork. If everyone started posting my work all over the web, it would make my work much less marketable. If I can't sell my work, I'll have to get another job, and will have less time to create new work. If you like what I do, help me to be able to continue to create it!
   Here are some of the questions that come up from people in relation to copying work:. (These apply not only here, but anywhere on the net.)

Can I copy your images to use on my site? I don't make any money from it.
   If you want to use an image on your web page, ask me! Depending on the use and type of site, there might be a small fee, or a big fee, or no fee. Heck, we might even be able to work a deal where I'll be able to do something brand new, just for your site, that no one else would have. (And then YOU can hope no one will copy and use it without permission, too!)
   I've seen the phrase "It doesn't hurt anybody -- in fact it's free advertising." used by people to justify posting art and text they copied without permission from another site. If they really felt that way, I wonder why they didn't ask the copyright holder for permission to use that material. It's up to the creator to decide if they want that "free advertising" or not. My name and copyright notices and contact info is all over this site. It's not hard to send an email. Just do it, as they say!

Can I copy and then email an image I like to a friend for them to see?
   I would prefer, that rather than trying to copy and send an image to a friend, you copy the URL of the page that image is on and send them that. Hey, if you want them to see one, wouldn't you like them to be able to see more? (I've seen images copied and emailed, then resent and resent, and the name of the artist and site being left off, and some people edit it a little, and suddenly the art is changed, no credit or copyright given, and someone decides that makes it free to use. So, send your friends here, they'll see the art the best it is on the web!)

But I love your stuff, and just want to share it with more people!
   Some people who want to put my work up on their site will say that they are, indeed, just trying to help out. But if you do it without asking, I have no control over where the work will go. There are sites that have posted hundreds of pages of my work- that's not helping me, that's just filling up their site so people will go there to see my work. I may have mentioned this already, but it seems to bear repeating: if you want to use something, ASK. You can write directly to the artist here, not some weird corporation that will just shuffle you around.

   Think of it this way: if you make a single copy of a picture for yourself at home, that's personal use. But if you put that picture up on a web page, you've published it to a huge audience. It's why so many of the song-sharing sites got in trouble: if you make a tape of songs off albums you bought, you aren't breaking any laws (or causing the artist to lose any income). If you make a copy of that tape for a friend, while technically not legal, it has always been considered such a small thing that no one has ever made a big deal about it. But if you made thousands of copies and handed them out to anyone who asked, you are definitely breaking the law, and harming everyone who created the work. Publishing someone's work on the web does the same thing of exposing that work to thousands and thousands of people without the consent of the creator.
   Again, it doesn't matter if you are personally making any money from the usage or not. Publishing someone's work without their permission can hurt the creator in many ways, as it limits their income from legally published work. Why would a magazine,in print or online, pay an artist to reprint their work if it's already being used all over the net? There are also agreements and legal contracts between artists and publishers, who have paid for exclusive rights to an image. If that image pops up elsewhere, that contract could become void.

A more technical look at copyright violation and theft on the Web, and a look at the idea of "Fair Use"
   The theft of images posted on the web is, unfortunately, a fairly common practice. Many people have the wrong idea that anything they find on line is in "The Public Domain", and that they can copy and use the material however they want to. That is wrong on so many levels! Just about everything on the Internet, graphics and text, is protected by copyright, and the reuse in any way of any of this material, without permission, is forbidden by law.
   Some people say that none of this applies to them, as they are copying under the "Fair Use" clause of the copyright law. They assume by simply giving credit to the original source, they can use the material as they wish. That is false. There are only a few VERY specific circumstances in which PARTIAL and CREDITED use of copyrighted material can be made without having to get the creator's permission. Those are:
Criticism and comment   If you are writing a review of something, one image used as a sample is fine, as long as it is used in in conjunction with a review of the full body of work Parody and Satire   Not simply copied, but changed to make a humorous point
Scholarship and Research   A short excerpt of text, or single image can be used in a larger original work
News Reporting   If writing an article or report, a short excerpt/single image as a sample is okay, as with a review.
Teaching   Similar to scholarship and research, limited excerpts can be used for educational purposes.

   So, Fair Use is generally just a short excerpt and almost always attributed to the source. There should also be no more use of the work than is needed to make the comment/point. If the use of copyrighted material will infringe on the copyright holder's ability to market the work himself, it is not allowed. (I've heard of a famous case where copying only 300 words from Gerald Ford's 200,000 word memoir for a magazine article was ruled as not Fair Use because it was the most important 300 words in the book: it was on why he pardoned Nixon. )
   I recently went to a search engine and put in my name, and the names of some of my comics and art prints. The results showed some places I knew of, and some I didn't.. I found several sites that had copied my work without my permission. Some gave me credit, some didn't. Some were even charging money for the right to view the work they had stolen from me! These were not simple excerpts, but full stories, stolen and resold. Some even had the nerve to put their own copyright notice on the site, or to add a line about "we don't knowingly use copyrighted material", when clearly they did. No interpretation of "Fair Use" allows for that kind of blatant copyright infringement..
   I would also ask that even if what you are using is clearly in "Fair Use" that you send me an email to let me know about it. Heck, if you're saying something nice, it might be interesting enough that I'll want to send people to see it myself! And if you are saying something critical, I'd like to think I'm always open to constructive criticism, so I'd still want to read what you had to say.
   If you see any of my work on the web that doesn't have my name on it, or a link back to this site, please let me know. The only way to maintain my copyright as a creator is to have to constantly protect it.
   If you want to read the actual copyright laws, here are two links:
The actual provision of the copyright act on Fair Use, Section 107 ( http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107 )
Plus the government copyright site also goes into further details on Fair Use here. ( http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html )

Final thoughts, and how to find all the free and legal art you could ever want for your site!
   There's really no need for anyone to even need to try to copy and use copyrighted material. You've got web access! Just pick your favorite search engine and type in things like "free clip art" , "free art" ,"free art for your website" , "free images to copy"... you get the idea. There are thousands and thousands of free images of all kinds being offered up by people who would love to let you use as much as you want. Seek those out and have fun!

   Remember, in case I haven't mentioned it enough, the bottom line is to write and ask me if you want to make use of any of the material on this site It's as simple as that.

   Thanks for taking the time to read all this. Now go back and check out the art and 'zines!


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The Official Stuff! Jabberwocky Graphix.com, Brad W. Foster, all art, words, images and such like stuff contained anywhere and everywhere on this site are copyright Brad W Foster, who would really appreciate it if you didn't copy this stuff anywhere else without asking him about it first, since this is how he tries to makes a living, so if you like his stuff and want to see him create even more, you'll not spread around the stuff already done for free. How's that? You can always write Brad anytime at jabberwocky2000@hotmail.com with any questions. You can also go click here for my thoughts on ... oh, that's this page already!