This is the next post in a very exciting series we’re bringing to you on IFB in anticipation of the upcoming #IFBcon. Each day in the month of August, we’ll have a different post designed to help your blog become – you guessed it – bigger, better and bolder.
In the blogosphere there are few topics that cause more debate, uncertainty and confusion than copyright. For a time, there were no set rules or guidelines for independent online publishers to follow to make sure their content was protected. We have the DMCA Act of 1998, but 14 years later we've developed some written (and unwritten) updates. As this post from About.com states so nicely, it's about both ethics and etiquette.
With all the upcoming fashion week and #IFBcon coverage that may appear on your blog, now is the perfect time to refresh your knowledge of the legal rights and responsibilities we have as bloggers. You very well could be using images from other sources and quoting fashion journalists or conference speakers on yolur site – so it's key to know the protocol so as to protect yourself and give proper credit.
We've posted more in-depth articles on copyright for bloggers in the past, which are linked below (with a few additional sources as well). For today's purposes, here is an oh-so-quick briefing of important copyright points for independent bloggers to know:
- You are the publisher, author, artist and owner of all the unique content you post on your site.
- Your content is yours, and you have the right to control how it is used, where it is used and who can use it.
- You own your words as well as your original images and videos (and any original design elements you created for your site)
- It's recommended (but not required for protection) to put a copyright notice somewhere on your blog's main page.
- Be mindful of libel and slander on your blog. These are written and spoken forms of defamation (respectively) which means making false statements about another person or entity.
Other people's content:
- If you use an image from another source (photogapher, web site, magazine, etc) you must cite and link to (if possible) that source.
- The Fair Use Doctrine says that some material protected by copyright may be reproduced without permission of the copyright holder if it meets certain qualifications (providing criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching or research).
- Fair Use is a bit of a grey area in blogging, so if you have any doubts about whether or not it's okay to use someone else's material (and how), ask permission first.
- You cannot use others' intellectual property or copyrighted material for commerce. (That does not fit under Fair Use.)
- Plagerism is stealing ideas and/or content and publishing them as your own. Citing your sources is the easiest way to avoid plagiarism, whether it’s quoting someone or giving them credit for an idea you’re discussing.
- Photo Copyright Tips For Bloggers (IFB)
- Photos You Can Use On Your Blog Without Breaking The Law (IFB)
- Should Start Ups Get Permission To Use Blogger Images?
- Legally Blog: Know Your Rights & Protect Your Content (IFB)
- Copyright & Fair Use Considerations (About.com)
- Legal Guide For Bloggers (eff.org)
- Citizen Media Law Project
*Please note that our guides & tips apply only to bloggers in the US – we don't have the resources or expertise to speak on other countries' laws.
*Disclaimer: Information in this guide is based on general principles of law and is intended for information purposes only. It is not offered for the purpose of providing individualized legal advice. Use of this guide does not create an attorney-client or any other relationship between the user and IFB or the lawyers consulted.
[Image credit: Armak Akcadogan / Shutterstock]
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Regular One-Day Pass: $125
Regular Two-Day Pass: $185
Corporate/Non-IFB Member Tickets: $600