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Copyright Act and Fair Use
Plagiarism and Copyright
I have been writing on internet for last 10 years. I have observed that many of my articles have been copy-pasted on other websites and blogs without my permissions. The worst thing is that, at many places my name as the author is removed, and the articles are published with a different name as the writer.
This type of stealing is being done not only by the amateur bloggers, but also by some professional writers and websites.
Many original writers are facing this problem.
True writers write using their knowledge, research, thinking power and creativity. They give a lot of time for every single piece of their writings. Further they give their time to modify or rewrite the already written articles. This makes them devoted writers. Such writers get a wide readership.
But some so called writers just copy the articles already published on net. They publish such article with their own name as a writer. This is just a theft. Theft of intellectual property. Why do they do this? This is not just because it is easy to do, but an important reason behind this is that they do not want to give their time for creativity. Some smart writers copy the main theme and present it by modifying the original article.
But such copy-paste writers are not long term gainers. Eventually they got caught. This can lead them to problems, and they can face legal actions. Even the websites, who have published such stolen articles can face problems.
I know some copy-paste writers, who were fined and who had to spend 1 to 3 years in jail.
Copying articles written by others and publishing them in own name is unethical and illegal. So never copy.
The best way is to be original. You will gain a lot in long term, only if you use your own intellect.
Esther Dyson, a former journalist says, "I think copyright is moral, proper. I think a creator has the right to control the disposition of his or her works - I actually believe that the financial issue is less important than the integrity of the work, the attribution, that kind of stuff"
What is Copyright Act/Law
To protect the rights and interests of authors, artists and the expressions of the ideas, many countries have legislated a law which is generally known as Copyright Act or Copyright Law. This act grants exclusive right to make and sell the copies of their work, to perform their work publicly, to create derivative works and to sell, transfer or license the rights partially or exclusively.
Their is a time limit to this right which varies according to the countries. In USA, and UK, the right expires after 70 years of death of the author. In India, it is for 60 years after death of the author.
The works subjected to copyright act include literary, musical, pictorial, graphic, dramatic, audio-visuals and performing arts.
A simple formula of the copyright concept to know is the Copyright act protects expression of ideas, and not the ideas.
There is provision of huge penalty and imprisonment for voilating the law.
Fair Use is not Infringement of copyright
However, the copyright act permits limited use of the works of the original authors to others, without acquiring permissions of the right holders. This limited use, known as Fair Use includes usage in reviews and criticism, news reporting, quotes, citations, commentary, teaching etc. One should remember that such use should be a limit, and excessive use is not fair use.
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