Copyright use/abuse and FixYa Experts
Copyright use/abuse and FixYa Experts
The information contained in this article is a fairly comprehensive opinion on copyright laws today and how they apply in general and specifically, this opinion is written as it pertains to our use of the Copy and Paste habit in posting solutions on FixYa. -Worldvet
As a former member of the journalistic community and having had numerous articles reprinted, our words are our income. Even posts that are solutions in forums are not public domain. US law states today that copyright is determined at the time of creation, it is implied. This has stood the test of time for over 15 years now (to my recolection).
There is a section in the current definition called "Fair Use". Fair Use allows a reporter to quote words so long as that quote is not so long as to constitute a reprint. This allows researchers and journalists to use and attribute work created by other journalists. In the practice of Fair Use, it is a requirement that the quote and 'borrowed' words be fully credited, naming not only author, but publication. Publications have inherent rights when they publish words also.
In the Digital Millennium Act, we are all familiar with over the sharing of music across the fence between neighbors, family and friends. I can still loan you my copy of Stephen Kings latest book without you needing to pay a further royalty. You cannot take the borrowed book, recreate it and then sell or profit from your possession.
This is where we run into Clear Space here at FixYa, this is not a Gray Area of the Law. To profit, from the use of another persons words (a fully constituted copyrighted work) is a violation of copyright laws. At best the briefest copy and paste without attribution is infringement. The creator of said work is required to protect their work, and a failure to do so, after a period of time, a period of time only the courts can decide upon, then the work then becomes public domain. Witness IBM's loss of DOS to Norton, Allen and Gates. And Xerox's loss of the Mouse, Ethernet and Windows. These were all decided in the courtroom that IBM and Xerox had failed to defend their right to claim ownership and has thus lost the ownersihp.
However, this period of time is loosely defined, there is no clear statement as to how long you can use someones work without their defending it in the Courts by suing you. Anyone, who has created a solution can search the body of a single sentence on Google today and results will show up in Google's database within a month or so.
In the Experts ToS or the general Tos, FixYa, the company, dissolves itself of any misuse and abuse of its experts in the scope of a violation of copyright laws. In fact, by signing up as an Expert it is implied you read these Terms of Service where it is clearly stated you will not copy and paste without giving credit to the source.
There are some columnists and Bloggers who you would be well advised not to copy and paste from. You do not know these people on the face of it, but they have staffers on hire who search the Internet daily for abuse of their copyrighted material. It is advisable that you not find yourself on the receiving end of such a lawsuit as FixYa is primarily a place of profit. Even in giving help in the free forum you are qualifying yourself to participate in Premium Questions and Live Chat sessions. As such, you are engaging in the practice of earning a profit from your activity.
I think that about covers it; particularly the last sentence above. If you have any questions further I will try to assist you. I worked for five years as an Editor in Chief where it was my primary duty to keep the publication from being sued over this type of violation, among the many others a publication is at risk from. We were never sued under my tenure and its something I am very proud of accomplishing. It entailed a lot of diligence and effort.
Do not copy and paste without giving credit where credit is due. I'm certain I have failed to do this correctly myself from time to time, but its not a habit you will want to establish concretely here at FixYa. It is a simple matter to provide attribution. It is harder to generate your habit of doing so. Thus, the casual forgetfulness is easily defensible. So long as you do make the effort. It is the effort that counts and then it will be easier to seek forgiveness in the absence of permission.