With technology constantly evolving, it is easy for us to view and find information at the click of a button. Some may say that this is a benefit, while others may disagree. The ones that may disagree however, may possibly be the authors that have had their work stolen by one of these internet lovers. One of the biggest problems about the constant evolution of technology is copyright infringement. What is this? Copyright infringement is when a work is taken from the original author, and distributed, edited, displayed, etc. using someone else’s name, or without the authors permission. As much as we hate to admit it, in some way, shape, or form it is possible that we are all guilty of doing this. But, the problem is that we feel no remorse because we are unaware of the effects that it has on authors or what is really considered to be copyright infringement.
In researching different types of copyright infringement, I found a great article that helps to describe what copyright infringement is, how to tell if it has occurred and if your doing it, and also how to protect your own work. Jennifer Kyrnin’s article “Copyright on the Web” starts off with listing a few items that are definitely copyrightable. They include:
- literary works such as articles, stories, journals, or computer programs
- pictures and graphics
- blueprints of architecture
- music and song lyrics
- plays and screenplays
- audiovisual recordings such as movies
- sound recordings
I think we can now all admit that we have infringed on someones copyright at least once. Does music and song lyrics ring a bell? I know for a fact that not everyone is paying $1.29 for each song they like. I also know the a lot of people have the same thought process about it. Common thoughts might include something like “This is harmless” or “There’s plenty of other people buying the music”. Am i right? Wether it be music or any other type of work that we tend to infringe, we are not recognizing the harm it is causing to our authors. If someone was constantly stealing a work that you put all your time in effort into without your permission, would you continue doing that same thing? What’s going to happen when authors decide that since they can’t create a piece of work without someone infringing their copyright, the won’t create it at all? This leads me to my next point: How can we protect ourselves?
In Kyrnin’s article, she offers the idea of Copyright notice. This includes a notice of some sort of image or mark showing that your work is protected by copyright laws. When it comes to the web she offers the suggestion of “adding a copyright notice to your page”, or for images “adding a watermark or other copyright information”. However, even with these copyright notices and laws that we place, infringement is still out there. So how will we know if our works aren’t being taken? We don’t. Kyrnin ends her article with the quote “Integrity is doing the right thing even if no one will know” and it is the most important lesson we can all take away from this issue. It’s easy for us to say, well if i can’t get caught why not do it? But is it the right thing to do. We all know how it would feel to have something taken from us without our permission, so why not do the right thing?