Bloggers and Intellectual Property

The sudden explosion of blogs and the growing network of bloggers has suddenly thrown a lot of people under the bus, the one that comes in the form of Intellectual Property. Although IP laws are mostly concentrated around the field of trademarks and patents, for bloggers it is the area of copyright laws that is important.

Read on to find out how bloggers can protect their work and at the same time avoid the issue of copyright.

What exactly constitutes as copyright?

Copyright in general implies a form of protection that is a form of protection which is granted by law for original works of authorship that is fixed in a tangible medium of expression.

The rights of a copywriter includes the following-

  • Making copies of the work
  • Derivative works based on an original work
  • Distributing the same work through different means like sale, transfer of ownership, etc

How to copyright the work

The moment a blog post is written and published, it means the creation of a copyrighted work. According to the US Copyright office, an original piece of work receives copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form which is perceptible either directly or with the help of some device. This does not involve just words but also images that were taken by you and also implies that it does not require any sort of registration or the copyright symbol.

Works under employment

When the work is created as part of the job description, for someone else, the original matter falls under the category of work made for hire. It implies that the work that has been created is not really your property and the copyright of the same actually belongs to the employer. This sort of work has actually been made within the scope of employment. For example, an article written by a journalist for some newspaper will belong to the newspaper. The copyright for the same also lies under the control of the newspaper.

Copying your work

Writers have the freedom to allow people to use their work in way that could otherwise infringe on the copyright. This can be done by creating a Creative Commons License to the work. The Creative Commons License allows the creator to choose the level of protection, including whether or not to allow the commercial use and modification of the work. This license ensures that anyone who wants to take up your created work for some reason knows the limitations that are attached with it.

Quoting others work

When a writer/blogger uses someone else’s work, it is limited by the concept of ‘fair use’ as defined by the copyright law. To put it simply, there are fair uses and then there are unfair ones, and the determination of the same differs on a case to case basis.

Apart from the quoting of another’s work, there is another category that the bloggers need to know and that is parody. A parody is a piece of work that makes use of an original work to make fun of that original piece of work. However, there is a difference between parody and satire. Parody uses the original work to make fun of the same satire on the other hand uses the original content to comment on something else entirely.

Copyright of an idea

‘I am, therefore I think’ holds valid when it comes to ideas. Ideas are not copyrightable. Someone else’s ideas can be easily used for expressing your sentiments. Although not legally binding or required, informal blogging etiquette requires mentioning the name of the thinker from whom the idea has been borrowed and then mould into words.

Blogging is all fun and facts until copyrights issue suddenly hits you. Then it becomes difficult to justify the sudden surge of legal issues which cropped up that led to your blog being taken down. To avoid any such sort of an issue, visit our website.

Originally published at www.abriselegal.com.

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Yes, we’re lawyers. No, we aren’t stereotypical lawyers. Find us at www.abriselegal.com and follow us on www.instagram.com/abriselegal/

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Abrise Legal

Abrise Legal

Yes, we’re lawyers. No, we aren’t stereotypical lawyers. Find us at www.abriselegal.com and follow us on www.instagram.com/abriselegal/