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It’s an easy rule actually, if it’s not yours, you need to have permission to use it before copying it. Because basically, when you don’t, you’re stealing. Still, not everyone is aware of this.
What exactly is copyright? It is an owner’s right to permit somebody else to replicate their work in the form of articles, journals, graphics, photos, videos, blueprints, music, lyrics, and many more that we should be aware of.
How can these works be duplicated or reproduced? One thing we do and may not realize that we are already reproducing their work is when we print a web page, copy codes or download and print images. The good news is, not every copyright owner objects to the personal use of their works, which means, there’s no rule that was violated.
Every document in a web page is protected by copyright laws. Some copyright notices you may have encountered are images with watermarks.
Copying something alone can be considered an infringement the moment a person’s own work is being reused without their permission. For example, a television channel has their famous show and fans create a website/fan page for this show. Photos, videos, HTMLs in that fan page may come from the channel’s copyrights and if those were posted without any permission, the station has every right to demand they be removed.
How will they know? One thing we might not notice is that every moment of the day, there are these “spiders” that search out possible infringements. Once found, the site will be flagged and reviewed for copyright infringement. For small business, consider you have one; you can also track this possible stolen content with companies that can help you track and scan infringement (Examples are CopyScape and FairShare).
Dealing with this is a bit complicated for starters, still, it’s always good to know how to protect your copyrights and avoid infringing on others.