Its very strange that from time to time I will receive a flurry of questions, usually via email, all about the same topic during a very short time frame. There never seems to be any particular reason for these batches of questions to suddenly appear. For some reason during the past few days I’ve had over a dozen questions from my readers about the Copyright statement that I use on my articles. This brief article provides some answers to the three basic questions I’ve received.
Q1. Why use a Copyright statement on articles?
It is simply good business practice to confirm intellectual ownership on the things that each of us creates. Any of you that post your work on Flicker or similar types of sites should make sure that each image bears your Copyright. In terms of the Copyright statement I use on my articles and on my images, I’ve been adding the year, i.e. Copyright 2017 Thomas Stirr, on the advice of a Copyright lawyer.
Q2. What harm, if any, is caused when other websites run your entire articles?
On the surface it may look counter-intuitive for me to complain about my articles getting ‘additional exposure’ when they are picked up completely and reproduced on other websites. This has been a serious issue with articles that I write for Photography Life, but fortunately has not become a problem with articles I write for my own blog.
Whenever duplicate content is posted on the internet the originating site can end up losing its search rankings with powerful engines like Google. Sites that steal original material from originating sites cause harm to the originating sites by potentially reducing search engine rankings and related traffic.
Taking a longer term, strategic perspective it is important to realize that when other sites steal entire articles that have been previously published, the originating site ends up being the loser with a lower number of internet searches leading back to the originating site. Some of the potential audience that the originating site may have earned from the quality of its content, could get siphoned off by the thievery of the other website(s).
My friend Nasim Mansurov at Photography Life, has had a serious problem with intellectual thieves for many years and he continually battles against them. Knowing the problems that Nasim has faced, and continues to have, I’ve proactively made my Copyright statement very clear in covering this issue of intellectual theft.
Q3. Is there any problem if my readers quote part of one of my articles on another photography blog or website discussion forum?
This is NOT a problem and does not run counter to my Copyright notice. I would ask that you provide proper notation attributing the quote from my article to me as the author, and if the other blog or website allows it providing a link to the article on my photography blog. Quoting from an article with proper notation attributing the excerpt to the original author is generally considered to be a ‘fair use’ under the copyright laws of most countries.
Nikon Canada has featured a number of my articles on its Twitter feed and on its Facebook page by providing links to my articles. This has been very helpful for my site to gain new readers.
I also have a good working relationship with the folks at Mirrorlessons.com and they regularly put links to my work on their website. For those of you who are interested in mirrorless cameras I’d suggest you check out the great work that Heather and Mathieu do covering mirrorless cameras on their blog: mirrorlessons.com.
We should all do it.
Using a Copyright statement or Copyright notation on anything that each of us creates is a prudent thing to do. While intellectual theft is, and will continue to be an international problem, we can all help protect our work by making sure Copyright statements and notifications appear on it.
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