Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Three Players in Copyright

I believe there are three main players when it comes to copyright. There are the consumers, the publishers, and the authors. The burden usually falls on the consumers, and maybe it should, but I think all three have a responsibility to ensure copyrights are not violated.

The Consumers
The consumers are everyone who uses the Internet and digests information. The consumers are the ones who the copyright burden usually falls on. That is with good reason as the consumers are the ones using other people's materials.

I agree that people should give credit back to the authors of content when they use it. I would like to see it go a little further though.

Photo Credit: "189/365: Makin' Copiessss" by if winter ends via Compfight cc

We should add not only links back to the page where information is found, but also include site names, and a link back to the homepage of the website. When using pictures or art, I also think that the artwork's title should also be included.

All this is to ensure that a reader can get back to the original source.

The Authors
Today I was surfing around reading some COETAIL blogs and some other blogs in my Google Reader, and I came across Vivian's post, Seriously Trending #Cyberbulling. In it she gives a very personal account of her own childhood experiences, and she links to some worthwhile content about bullying.

One of the resources she links to is a pdf and I followed it to get more information. There I decided that it was good enough for me to use in the future, so I downloaded it to my Google Drive.

While reading the pdf, I was looking for the authors name, or at least the organization where the document came from. Afterall, if there was one good source of information, there would surely be more.

The problem was that the pdf does not have the author's name or the organization where it came from. It does however, contain a citation from where the author got information to make the document.

When I was looking into how to find the source for this document, I continued to think that this author should protect him/herself by putting a name on it. In a pdf, you can also place active links that would help readers quickly make it back to your website to find out more information about who made it.

Photographers also fall under the authors title. Photographers can add metadata including their name, date, and a copyright mark. (As a photography hobbiest I think pictures are better without the watermarks.)

The Publishers
The publishers are websites that post copyrighted content. I even classify publishers to be those sites that allow for the curation of copyrighted content i.e. Google Drive.

For these sites, I think it is their responsibility to give the consumers an easy way to cite an author when reproducing it. Imagine if when doing an image search on Google that it was as easy as it is on Compfight to cite an image. Imagine how easy everything would be if website publishers gave you a snippet of code tell the public where you got your information. PowerPoint and iMovie should include easy ways to insert and display a link back to the source of an image. Google Drive should also have something where you can put a link back to where the document or photo came from. Yes, we can do it ourselves, but these companies should have a stake in helping people to use content legally.

Come on - it's not that hard to do. And it can even look decent if done right like the way Haiku Deck does it.

I also think they have an obligation to forewarn consumers when they [we] are using, embedding, linking to copyrighted content. A lot of trouble comes when consumers take copyrighted content without knowing it should not be taken. A simple warning when right-clicking would do wonders.

The burden of responsibility will always fall back on the consumers, but all three players have some responsibility to help prevent copyright infringement.

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