How to safely deal with "all rights reserved," and additional pages which go way out of their way telling you not to be using thier materials. Normally, it just says, "all rights reserved," and that is all it says. In this case, what happens if we just put a small point, maybe a few sentances, in our own wording, and properly credit them with parenthetical indexing and a works cited page. What harm can come of this? In other cases, there is a page, basically telling you to leave their materials alone, or what you can or can not do. Normally it is clear that you cannot photocopy it, or something like that. Sometimes they tell you that you cannot use it commercially. So on and so forth. When can a person get into trouble for doing a normal research paper with proper credits, parenthetical indexing, and works cited page? More and more, I am not citeing or quoting from awesome sources, because I am paranoid with fear. They sometimes put a whole page telling you more or less to leave it alone. Sometimes they point out, commercially. What happened in the old days when we could just do a research paper without fear?
Do not be afraid...
Fair Use is not only legal, it is ethical. And usually even appreciated; when it's used to encourage following a link to the source.
"What happened to the days when we could do a research paper without fear?"
Few teachers take the time to explain to students that there is a special copyright clause called Fair Use which gives you more leeway to quote extensively for school papers and educational handouts. You are allowed to bend copyright much farther in school due to this fair use clause, which grants special license for those who are LEARNING, but does not grant us the same broad leeway when we are exploiting someone else's work out in the real world.
So we have whole generations of people coming out into the world with a school-taught view of what's allowed. In school, crediting your sources to avoid charges of plagiarism is very important, because you're being judged on what you can do, whereas copyright is almost a non-issue. In the real world, copyright and allowing writers and content makers to gain income from their labors is what matters, and copyright law becomes paramount. If writers and artists can't make a living through their work, because everyone else is taking their content without paying them for it, then giving credit for copied work doesn't help. Copyright law doesn't say "It's okay to use someone else's stuff without paying for it if you give them credit." Credit doesn't pay their bills. And on the web, copying someone else's stuff actually competes with it and causes it to rank lower in search engines, so that they may lose what little money they may earn from it!
THAT is why it's different from when you were writing research papers in college. Too few people understand this. THAT is why people write "all rights reserved" and spell out their copyrights, trying to make it clear for those who don't understand.
However, fair use laws DO allow some limited quoting and excerpting, even for commercial use. They do not protect you from a copyright lawsuit, so you should err on the side of caution, but there are some limited circumstances under which it's okay to quote short excerpts for critique, commentary. I suggest you Google "Stanford law school fair use" and learn what the criteria are -- they have a very easy-to-read and factually correct guide on the four factors of fair use (all of which must be met for a use to qualify).
It comes down to this, though: try to respect the wishes of those who make content. It's the product of their labors, and it's bally hard to make a living on writing or any form of creativity. Why make it harder for them? Giving credit and a link will not usually help them pay the bills, and is not enough to absolve one of a copyright violation.
On the other hand, if it's an author that likes fanfiction, or a game studio that supports fans who do fanvids promoting their products, or someone who's made it clear they don't mind people reusing their work, then don't worry about it. For every author that has a stern copyright notice, there's plenty of others releasing their work under a creative commons license. That goes double for images. There's enough material out there freely available that we're not stuck, provided WE are willing to do a little work ourselves.
thank you-thank you-thank you-thank you-thank you, Miss Greek Geek. I vaguely remember you had talked to me before a while back on related, maybe images. I am tied up in stitches, making myself sick, presently. I have been looking at, and will be studying hard, Stanford Law School Fair Use. I have been on this page lately. It looks like I am going to be asking for permissions a lot, keeping it small, using my own wording, not costing them money, not getting them upset, properly crediting, finding other sources for the same thought, and just every trick i can come up with. This paper that I am working on now, all of my stuff had copyrights and sticky permissions that I am mentally wrestling with. There is absolutely no question that I will be studying this.
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