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Lorraine
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In the UK and other countries copyright is implied. It is not necessary to place a copyright symbol, owner's name and production date on the site, although doing so may assist in copyright infringement proceedings. But how many of us or our clients would go that far?

I thought I knew what copyright meant but, when I started to produce image intensive templates, I thought I had better study the subject. I have many books and bookmarks now - but this was my primer

The law will not be exactly the same in every country, but many accept the international precedents for web copyright. Hopefully, we all accept that some of the code we produce and/or the images on our sites are not original nor are they our personal intellectual property. And they do not, necessarily, belong to that ephemeral being known as "the client" or the person with the cheque book. Our text will probably be plagiarised and para-phrased to within an inch of its original meaning but facilities like copyscape, whilst useful, can only take us so far, unless we can prove authorship and are prepared to go to court.

Images, clipart and line art on The Freebies sites can, generally be used, changed, enhanced to suit your purposes. But there are many where image owners place some conditions on their use. Royalty-free means you don't have to pay the owner, but do have to respect his/her wishes on use. You may buy an image outright but you are not, necessarily, buying ownership of the copyright. Googled images may seem to be fair game but it is very difficult to decide whether an image used on another site has not already infringed copyright on the site where Google found it.

We are all familiar with some of the images commonly used (often badly) as metaphors for certain businesses. Because of my work I visit many sites from keyword searches based on blindness, vision etc. On a wet-weekend with nothing better to do "corporate vision" can be great fun - I should get out more :mrgreen: . My favourite over-used image is the cutout showing a young woman's eyes and eyebrows. It is has been colourised every colour in the 256 palette. It has been digitally enhanced - poorly reduced/enlarged and there was the entertaining version where the eyebrows had been plucked - they looked like skinny caterpillars crawling across her face Smile

A while ago I wanted to place some product photos on a site and contacted the manufacturer for permission. They had no objection but referred me to the photographer - yep, he sold his photographs to the manufacturer, but he retained ownership (and that was in his particular contract as a freelancer). I also found an image on Flickr that I was desparate to use, contacted the owner and received - get this - a solicitor's/lawyer's letter Shock . Fortunately they conveyed their client's express consent. Phew, never under-estimate Flickr contributors.

I have produced and (paper) published some charts and diagrams and occasionally see their scanned versions on websites. I know they are mine because they all have a mistake in them - just the one or two misplaced dots in various parts of the image. Use of my digital images and photographs on other sites doesn't bother me - but I always contact the sites that have the nerve to hot-link them and if they do not "cease and desist forthwith" I replace the image with something err... quite tasteless and move the original to another directory Evil .

I would be interested to read your thoughts on copyright and your comments on the use of images on your site(Drunk, whether you would ever sue for copyright infringement and, if so, how you would prove ownership.

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Hugo
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Who owns the copyright?

An interesting post Lorraine, got me thinking and I do hate that Smile

I claim next to no real knowledge in this field and now due to this post will probably find myself spending all evening studying (thanks)

One thing I would say is that there is probably not enough attention paid to copyright on the web with many labouring under the mis-apprehension that it's a free for all when available on a public accessible servers, whereas this is or should not be the case.

Naturally it's not really possible to copyright html/CSS layouts given their nature although I do object to people believing that layouts can be lifted wholesale and used; code snippets yes, techniques, yes (most are culled from elsewhere anyway) but the conceptual arrangements of those parts to produce a unique looking site/page should be protected. As to who claims rights over that is a matter for debate probably.

Images definitely are someones property and are rightly held to copyright unless waived, but am amazed at the solicitors letter granting you permission, that's taking things a little far isn't it? Smile
and was slightly surprised to learn that the freelance photographer retained ownership of the photographs he was commissioned to produce.

Apropo of your published documents being scanned that is by the very nature of the act an infringement isn't it? "not free to reproduce any part of..." even if those charts/documents of yours are not hotlinked I would object if and when I came across them being used without express permission unless of course that you imply permission is granted elsewhere, this is your work I would feel that you had a right to protect that work and for due acknowledgement of yourself as author of said work. If for no other reason than common courtesy, but also to enforce the fact that people can't just go around using whatever they find with impunity, otherwise a precedent is set.

I do not know that I would ever take things as far as the courts as this is probably far more hassle than it's worth but that would depend on the severity of the infringements but I would go as far as contacting said miscreant with a stern written letter in legalese explaining I was not happy and asking them to cease their actions, this would probably be written with the casual help from a solicitor friend so that it sounded like it meant business.

Other than that my views on the subject carry a certain naivete in this field and are not much help, but I will have a look at that link and do some study Smile

Hugo.

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Lorraine
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Who owns the copyright?

Hugo wrote:
Images definitely are someones property and are rightly held to copyright unless waived, but am amazed at the solicitors letter granting you permission, that's taking things a little far isn't it?

Turned out he is an award winning photographer. And he has offered me exclusive (web) rights to some of his other stuff. WooHoo integrity and honesty certainly paid dividends there Tongue

My publishers are on to the "scanners" and as to going through the motions for my digital stuff, frankly, I can't be a****d, sorry... bovvered. Now that's a clue as to the subject content of my tasteless image replacement technique (should I copyright it, do you think?) Wink

Yes, it's a minefield and makes you think twice about claiming copyright and demanding your or your client's express, written, permission for the use of absolutely everything on the site.

Chris..S
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What is the status of information (not images) provide on the internet where there is no explicit statement of copyright/terms of use/licence for that information?

I was recently looking for a mathematical formulae, being prepared to attempt to implement it in a script. I couldn't find the formulae, but I could find script implementations. None of the scripts had licence information. I ended up picking the one that appeared to be "most freely" given. Should I have? Should I have picked a script in a different language and tried to convert it? Would that have made any difference?

If a brief includes images or other media, is there any responsibility on the website builder to ensure the client has rights to display that material on a website?

Lorraine, I think what you have described doing for your commercial work is mandatory. Its not up to us to risk our client's good name by using material they have no rights to. Not to mention, its no good for the website builder if a client receives a letter from the owner of that material demanding its removal or worse.

Personal or non-commercial sites can probably take more risks and use material knowing they may have to remove it if they get asked. The amount of risk you are prepared to take needs to be based on what you risk losing. If you can afford to pay, you should, as if you can afford to pay, someone else can probably afford to sue the pants off you Laughing out loud

Would I sue someone?
Yeh, I think I would if someone was using my stuff commercially without my agreement or was passing it off as their own. (Maybe one day it'll happen Shock)

Hugo, for images, you can find out how professional photographers work by reading the T&Cs on the photo library sites. Most of the time a work is only being purchased for a specific use with a defined degree of exclusivity. I guess simply because its cheaper that way. If you use an image for a brochure here you do mind if your competitor down the road uses the same image but you don't care if other organisations in distant parts of the world use the same image. Things are cheaper for you and the photographer has greater opportunity to earn more.

Lorraine
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Who owns the copyright?

Chris..S wrote:
What is the status of information (not images) provide on the internet where there is no explicit statement of copyright/terms of use/licence for that information?

As I understand it, in the UK (and other countries) copyright is implied by virtue of the fact it appears on your site. The symbol is not necessary but it does no harm if you are producing innovative work that you can prove is yours.

That is how I read the information in the primer site (link given earlier) where some of your other questions may well be answered, in general terms.

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I think what you have described doing for your commercial work is mandatory.

But who is setting the mandate? In my view it is certainly "professional" although I always hesitate to use that word in relation to web "business", having been married to a practitioner of one of the actual Professions for decades. Wink

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Lorraine wrote:
WooHoo integrity and honesty certainly paid dividends there


Well you did the right and proper thing and clearly have been rewarded as such but this is the issue people clearly need to be far more aware of, it's not just excuse enough that it was on the web that does not imply nor grant rights of use; as to your publishers they are following up the basic clause that says" no part of the material may be reproduced in part or in whole without express permission of publishers and author" quite bloody right too!

and definitely copyright your hotlinked images Smile

Chris all information should really be regarded as coming under some sort of protection unless it explicitly states otherwise.
scripting/code is a harder area where really it needs to be covered by a notice that it's 'rights reserved' or have a CC notice placed on it where at least the original author should always be cited otherwise using snippets of code is fair game really. Lifting whole scripts that serve a specific function without due attribution should be frowned upon and often thats all the original author would ask for

If you found and used a script that did not forbid it's use then as long as you attributed it if used in it's entirety then that is probably fair, to use portions of a scripts function and then possibly re-writing it to be your own is something that can't be prevented nor upheld in a court so to speak.

Thinking about the photo copyright it makes sense that and the fact if I had thought harder and remembered back to the days when I worked in that trade I would have remembered how it was so.

Hugo.

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Hugo wrote:
...Lifting whole scripts that serve a specific function without due attribution should be frowned upon and often thats all the original author would ask for

If you found and used a script that did not forbid it's use then as long as you attributed it if used in it's entirety then that is probably fair, to use portions of a scripts function and then possibly re-writing it to be your own is something that can't be prevented nor upheld in a court so to speak.

Yes, I always make a note of the source. I think thats common sense and to my benefit - if only so I know where to look if something ever goes wrong.

Laughing out loud

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Chris wrote:
if only so I know where to look if something ever goes wrong.

Laughing out loud like I do , "Oi I lifted your script and put it in my page and now it doesn't work, what is wrong with your script please, I did cite you as the author of the mess I've made though."

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