I beta tested a product last week. It’s called Blasty. Their function is to find pirate sites, notify you that your copyrighted material is up for grabs, and give you a chance to take that material down. Of course, I found that all of my books are available free. I found that they’ve been downloaded thousands of times–according to the sites’ stats.
I emailed Blasty and asked if this was a futile effort since these sites shut down and pop up with a different URL all the time. Their reply was that they were working to track the ever-moving pirate sites. They are also sending takedowns to the host sites. They’re working on becoming the most powerful tool against online pirates possible.
I may sign up or I may resign myself to being pirated and all of my (ahem!) intellectual property being given away free. Have you heard of Blasty, tried it, interested or not?
Now about taking other peoples stuff and using it: Jacqui Murray posted about Image Copyrights Do’s and Dont’s in September. It’s worthy of attention. When I use someone’s image without paying for it, I check her guidelines. And guidelines are what the copyright “laws” seem to be. Here are a couple of RULES I’ve made for myself to help me in making decisions about image use:
- I apply the “fair use” and post the image once in the context of teaching/learning. “Fair Use Doctrine is to allow for limited and reasonable uses as long as the use does not interfere with owners’ rights or impede their right to do with the work as they wish.” If I use an image from any open source site, I read their rules. For example, Morguefiles allows downloads and use of photos without credit if you alter the photo, but asks that you give credit if you post the original photo. I err on the side of caution and give credit anyway. Why not? If the image was good enough for me to download it, the person creating it should have their name on it.
- When I’m in doubt, I contact the artist/photographer/graphic designer and ask their permission. I’ve had some say, “You can use it for your blog posts and Email Connects as long as you give me credit.”
Since copyright protection this is such a nebulous “balance” between protecting the creator of those images and public benefit, you might want to take a look at this other article that I found. It’s clear and useful for those of us trying to play fair and not wanting to break any laws.
And then there’s France. [Read more…]