Nov 21, 2009

Lets Talk with The Blog Guy : Copyrights and Stuff on Blogs and Websites

Q :) A follow up on Copyright crap versus the Internet. What is a Proxy Server, how does it work, and if someone uses your posted materials can you do anything about it?

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, this is solely my opinion. I did consult a lawyer for an off the record type opinion for some of this response.
A ): A 'Proxy Server' is an anonymous listing generally issued and held by a Website Hosting Company. In other words, if you have a registered domain name and search it on 'whois' it should show you who owns the domain name and website. If the site is listed as a 'proxy' that means the owner of the domain name and website has paid the hosting company to hide their identity. This is done for various reasons.
As I stated in my earlier post covering this topic, if someone is copying a Video (music or movie); a Video Game; a Registered Logo Trademark; Literally copying say 10 pages from a best selling novel; Selling illegal CDs or DVDs; downloading music or movies illegally on the Internet - then yes the site can be removed.
Understanding who owns what is very important.
1/ - If you are using a FREE social network like Google blogspot, Myspace, Facebook etc. They can remove the post or even take down your blog / site. For example - see Googles terms of use agreement.
Reality says, however, the blog owner can just move it to another social network. Up until a few years ago social networks were dominated by the United States. Now they are everywhere. So lets say Google removes your Blog Site, if you want to be a horses butt you can go to a developing country and they will be glad to host it. It's all about money. The economy even has giant companies scrambling for business. If you have a popular Blog Site with one or two complaints then probably nothing is going to happen, but you run that risk.

2/ - If you purchased a domain name (.com .net .org) these belong to you until the expiration date. If you renew them they still belong to you. In other words unlike a Free Blog such as Google who owns the blog and lets you use it, the domain is yours, you own it.

3/ - Domains need a server to work. This can be done in one of three ways:
- - You pay a hosting company to host your domain and therefore your website.
- - You host your own website, you need a server, one computer will do but it needs to be dedicated to that site. It cannot be used for anything else.
- - You are a shared user. Basically this is like piggy backing you are using someones server. Some companies will allow their employees to host their own websites with their servers. A good example of this are colleges and universities that allow students to host their websites (.edu) on the school's servers.

4/ - Although you own the domain name, if you pay a hosting company to host your website they generally have terms and conditions and could take your site down without notice. A common practice within the United States. But again, if you are in a developing country or in a country that doesn't care about copyright infringement on an individual basis then it probably will remain there no matter how many complaints they get. Again, it's all about the money. Some countries are not participants of the International Copyright Agreement, so they don't care, others signed the agreement but wont enforce it.

If someone is using something of yours the soft approach is best, ask them to remove it or give you credit and link to your site. I spoke to a lawyer friend of mine, Wall Street type. Basically they feel copyright infringement and plagiarisms are impossible to enforce. About 90% of all books printed and sold have some type of plagiarism. There are just so many ways you can phrase something or so many words that describe something before you use someone elses materials. Also this lawyer said that suing someone over copyrighted items probably would cost about 35,000 US dollars and in the end would only result in getting the item removed especially if the person had no assets of any kind to obtain damages.
Pictures (photographs), prints, sketches, and art are generally owned by the photographer or artist unless they work for a company as their employee or have a written agreement with the company that paid them to do the work. Joint ownership is common so you may have to legally obtain both parties agreement to use it.
The guideline I was given is simply-
Yes it's illegal but almost not enforceable. If there is no compensation, money involved directly related to that particular item(s) then it becomes a mute point.
Lastly if someone is using your personal name or site name they may have stolen your identity. It is wise to check your credit report. In addition it is advisable in today's electronic age to Google yourself and your site to see what comes up.

I was told by a writer friend of mine, that book publishers use software to check for proper names, that seems to be a real stickler on copyrights. In other words, if you use a persons name you have to have their written permission. Same goes for pictures, prints, sketches, and art.
Good Luck with your problem.

I hope this was helpful. Again this is getting outside of my privy and as I said it's an opinion, legal matters should be handled by an attorney who specializes in these matters.
I would like to stay on point for Blogging and Website / Web Page Tips.

Do you have a Blogging question, email me.

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Have a good weekend.
The Blog Guy


The Patton Doctrine said...

Hey many have argued -and- its a good argument that if you don't want anyone to have your stuff - then never post it to the Internet.
This sounds like Liberal BS to me. Or, at minimum someone in La La Land.

Copyrights were put in place to cover books, magazines, newspapers, movies and music. Congress in its infinite stupidity allow it to extend to other areas.
Now every idiot who post something or writes an article thinks their shit is precious and should be protected - get a life people.
I too have dozens of emails sent to me every month from people who want those pictures posted to my blog.

If any nitwit out there thinks I am going to spend my time searching the NET to determine if those images belong to someone else they have reached a new level of stupid!

And, if Google doesn't like this approach, they need to get their own form of reality check.

Hell have any of these people ever seen craigslist. Any CL forum in any city on a daily basis is full of copyright violations.

Personally, thanks for the info, if it ever becomes an issue with me and Google Blog, I'll just move it to another Blog host.

I like Google for the most part, and I do realize it's free and they make the rules, but they need us as much as we need them.

Anyway, good stuff from you as always.

Ed Hurley said...

Thanks for the input, this is good stuff.