is Fair Use
As the Internet matures, users and governments are
struggling to manage controversial issues. Lets face it, the Internet
did not exist when the US copyright laws were written;let us not
forget, while many countries respect copyright laws, the Internet
is global without a governing body. There are not only different
laws, rules and regulations, but also jurisdiction issues. RSS didn't
exist when copyright laws were written either. While ardent supporters
feel any content in a feed can be syndicated, other equally fervent
publishers contend that original works are just that--original works,
and in many countries protected by copyright laws.
Much of the Internet is uncharted territory. There
is no single agencies that has complete control over content or
censorship, and it is unlikely that there will ever be a recognized
body that regulates and agrees to terms and conditions to govern
the online world. At this point, the location of webhosts and companies
owning domains dictate what laws that are observed. In other words,
if a company in the US or UK is violating a copyright and their
host is in the US or UK, it will be easy to enforce copyright laws
in the event of a violation and have the website content pulled.
If the website is located on a server in a region that does not
recognize or acknowledge the rights of a copyright holder, the web
host will be less likely to cooperate in removing the offending
Regardless of whether you manage an RSS feed or syndicate
existing feeds, it is a good idea to become familiar with what constitutes
fair use under copyright laws. Fair use allows portions of copy
written material to be reproduced or republished without the consent
or permission from the copyright holder.
Determining protection can be complex. Fair use is
often disputed, and it is difficult for legal scholars to understand,
and even more difficult for publishers to decipher. When determining
fair use there are a few questions that help determine whether a
copyright violation has occurred. The questions you should ask are:
Is the work protected?
How much material is copied?
What is the nature of the work that was copied?
Is the individual reproducing the work profiting?
How was the original works affected by being copied?
When attempting to determine copyright protection,
it is important to remember that the US copyright law does not require
a notice to appear in order for creative works to be protected.
The fact that the work is unique and is "created" is enough to ensure
Not surprisingly, creative works that contain a higher
level of complexity have a higher degree of protection. The fair
use doctrine is part of US copyright law and it allows for publishers
to incorporate some copyrighted material into works without the
expressed permission of the copyright holder.
Resources on Copyright:
Copyright Debate: http://www.small-business-software.net/the-copyright-debate.htm
Keep in mind that fair use is based on the belief
that the general public and media are entitled to freely use portions
of copyrighted materials. The fair use extends to commentary on
the creative works, criticism of creative works, or even the creation
of a parody that relates to the copyrighted material. Understanding
the intent of the copyright laws help publishers interpret them.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts.
In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage http://www.notepage.net
a wireless text messaging software company.