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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WARNING TO BLOGGERS: BEWARE OF YOUR COPYRIGHTS

BRYCE ON WRITING

- Before you start blogging, protect yourself.

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I have had a blog for a number of years with hundreds of postings. I take my work rather seriously and in order to safeguard it, I learned a long time ago to copyright my material. Of course, copyright is a part of the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 8) and is intended to safeguard the rights of authors. Obviously, this means nobody can re-use it unless you authorize them to do so. The Internet though makes it much too easy to "copy" and "paste" the written word without permission. In many cases, authors will allow you to copy articles, all you have to do is ask permission and observe their copyright notation on your re-posting. Anything else is just plain theft.

There are a lot of bloggers who do not take their work as serious as I do and use it to simply record frivolous comments. However, there are a lot more who expend considerable effort in their writings and should take steps to prevent misappropriation of their work. Unfortunately, they do not and their work may be spread across cyberspace with no credit for its source. This also means deadbeats can take your work and claim it as their own.

Fortunately, copyright law is designed to protect your rights and it goes into effect the moment you write something. The Internet though is a strange creature and I would admonish you to take additional steps to protect your work. The safest blogs are those you control yourself. Blogging tools such as Wordpress and Blogger were specifically designed for independent blogging. For those who believe this is too technically challenging (they really are not), there are writer communities on the Internet who simplify the process of blogging your work. The danger here though, is some of these communities want to supersede your ownership of your work and post their own copyright notation. The author should carefully review the terms and conditions of use for the blog. If it says something to the effect, the work becomes their property or their copyright supersedes your own, run (do not walk) away from this community. Their intent is to steal your work. If you are not planning to post anything important, fine, use the facility, but if you want to claim ownership of your work, you would be wise to avoid it.

Keep one thing in mind, if you submit your blog posting with the proper notation, your copyright should preempt any other. Here is a sample of how copyright notation should be expressed:

"Copyright © 2015 by John Doe. All rights reserved."

As an aside, the HTML code for the copyright symbol is: ©

If you really do not want people stealing your work, you might want to consider writing it to a PDF file format (Portable Document Format). PDF is an open standard created by Adobe. There are many tools available to create a PDF file which can be displayed on a web page or e-mailed to people. Interestingly, when creating a PDF file, there is an option to prevent copying or downloading text, which greatly deters thieves. You can even prevent people from printing the document if you are so inclined.

I write this article as a warning to bloggers; there are simply too many unscrupulous people who do not respect the ownership of your own hard work. If you want to blog frivolously, do not worry. If you value your work, take some preventative measures.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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