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Stealing Stuff - Something You Should Not Do

By Author: Steve Jenkins
Total Articles: 38

As editors, one thing we see as a problem among some writers is their lack of understanding in using photographs they cut and paste from the Internet for their writing projects. Many do not understand that a photograph is as much the intellectual property of the photographer as their writing is to them. Some writers believe that if it is on the Internet, it is free for anyone's use.
This is just not so!
As a writer, you have probably put that very important symbol and date on your name on your project - you know - the one that says no one can use your work, as in, "(c) 2013 Your Name."
As a writer, you realize that as the producer of the original work, you hold copyright to that work and no one can steal it from you. Moreover, if they do, you have recourse and legal tools available for your use in making things right.
Well, for all of the information on the Internet, you have to understand the one important thing on any webpage, usually down at the bottom of the page, or somewhere else on the website, is the really important notation, "All content copyright 2013."
That means copyright law protects everything - all written content, all photographs, all artwork. Every writer, every artist, every photographer has the right to expect his or her work will remain theirs. They should be paid for the use of their work. After all, that is why they went through all the trouble building their skills, honing their craft, and the trouble of selling it - to make money.
Whenever you steal (and let's be sure to call it what it is) content from a website, you are opening a very large can of worms.
A friend of ours, a professional photographer, had his work stolen from his website by an amateur. The amateur photographer, trying to pass on our friend's work as his own, was caught. Not by our friend, but by other professional photographers who alerted our friend to the situation.
Bottom line, they captured the amateur, but he got off lucky. They did not charge him and he did not have to deal with court costs, legal fees, and more.
That is exactly what may occur if you are discovered committing intellectual theft. The least that might happen could be a cease and desist order; the worst? Perhaps a judgment against you in tens, tens of thousands, or maybe even seven figures of fines and penalties.
If you wish to learn more about intellectual property rights, I suggest enrolling in WritersMarket.com - it is not free, but at $40 a year, very well worth the fee for information on editors and publications, and their very well researched, Writer's Encyclopedia.


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