The Copyright Symbol, Misunderstood: 4 Common Myths That Hurt Your Blog

Copyright Do's and Dont'sIn our world of digital everything, copyright has become tricky business.

Every day we see widely adopted online practices that violate copyright.

Worse still, the Internet is full of copyright falsehoods and half truths that are mistakenly passed along, and believed to be accurate.

Misperceptions about copyright leads to copyright infringement, which hurts bloggers.

We’d like to set the record straight.

“No Copyright Symbol”?  No Problem …  

Let’s explore four common copyright myths, one by one:

  • Copyright Myth #1 – Content without a visible copyright symbol or copyright notice is free to use.

Under the law, a work is copyrighted as soon as it’s created in fixed form.

Just because you don’t see a copyright symbol (©) or words, such as “All Rights Reserved,” doesn’t mean that the work isn’t protected by copyright.  It is.

Before copying any or all, you must determine the content creator’s terms for reuse.

  • Copyright Myth #2 – People are flattered when you republish their content with attribution.  Asking permission is unnecessary.

While linking to someone else’s content is fine, copying is another story, even with attribution.

As flattering as you may consider it to be, not every writer is okay with your using THEIR content in service of YOUR business goals.  Be courteous and ask. It’s the (copy)right thing to do.

  • Copyright Myth #3  - You don’t need permission, if you’re just using a small excerpt.

Some people believe that you only have to obtain permission and provide attribution to the source if you’re taking more than a certain number of words or percentage of the original.  Not true!

No matter how much or how little you “borrow,” you should ask permission and give proper attribution.

Even when you believe your reuse passes the “four-factor” test of fair use , you should still provide proper attribution or, better yet, obtain permission from the source.

After all, the creator’s notion of whether your use is a “fair” one may differ from yours.  Better to be careful and up front than regretful later.

  • Copyright Myth #4 – Google is a great place to get free images

Unfortunately, many people assume that the images that show up in a Google image search are free to use.

Not so!  All of the images found on the Internet are copyright protected.  Learn the image owner’s specific terms for reuse before using an image.

Some image creators make their images available for free reuse with attribution (for instance, Flickr Creative Commons has many images with that particular license).

There are also low-cost sources for image licensing, like – as well as convenient WordPress plugins and tools that help you source images for your blog, website, or social use, such as Photodropper and Photopin.

The key is to do the right thing, and comply with the image creator’s terms of use, before posting an image that you find online.  Don’t risk a copyright violation.

There’s more to online copyright than just this, but these four copyright mistakes are so common, we wanted to set the record straight!

What other copyright myths have you encountered?  Let us know in the comments!

Bonus!  Free Blogger’s Guide to Copyright Protection”

If you’re designing, creating or writing online, and want to learn more about how to protect your content, download our free “Blogger’s Guide to Copyright Protection”.

19 Reasons to Take a Fresh Look at Your WordPress Plugins

A funny thing happened on the way to crowdsourcing a list of favored WordPress plugins from last week’s #blogchat. Halfway through the 54 page(!) #blogchat transcript, we discovered that there’s a lot more to know about plugins than just which ones to install. As always, some great advice was shared. Enjoy the tips and tweets [...]

78 Useful WordPress Plugins From #blogchat

There is no savvier blog community than the group that participates in #blogchat each week.   (#blogchat is a spirited tweetchat among bloggers on Sunday nights, 9-10 pm ET, hosted by @mackcollier.   It’s a great place to learn from other bloggers, discover new blogs to read and great new people to follow). This past [...]

7 Ways to Find (and Fix!) Duplicate Content

Duplicate content happens. You may be aware that content theft can create duplicate content and search engine penalties for your website or blog. But, sometimes we inadvertently create duplicate content on our own websites, by not understanding content creation best practices! Recent search engine updates have made it more important than ever to identify and address duplicate [...]

5 Tech Tools for Better Blog Writing & Content Creation

What’s your biggest blogging challenge? Is it finding time to write? Coming up with your next topic? Or do you need a little help getting found? While technology won’t help you define your “secret sauce,” there are some remarkable tech tools to help make your content creation and blog writing smarter: 1. Website Analytics Website [...]

How To Protect Your Blog Content From RSS Feed Scrapers

Does your RSS feed inadvertently contribute to content theft? In a prior post, we talked about how peer pressure can work to fight online content piracy – particularly for naïve infringement.  But peer pressure alone can’t always work.  That’s because some content is stolen by bots and automated programs that scrape your RSS feed. Like [...]

How to Monetize your Blog: Make it “License friendly” (Part 2)

  The blogger’s online business toolkit seems to grow daily:  advertising, affiliate sales, sponsored posts, selling products and services, consulting, speaking, selling books, and more. Whether you do ALL of those things — or NONE of those things — there’s one more revenue opportunity that is often overlooked. Make your original online content license friendly. [...]

How To Monetize Your Blog (Part 1)

Blogging takes incredible discipline and hard work. Leading blogger Chris Brogan  (@chrisbrogan on twitter) famously wrote that it took him eight years to get his first 100 subscribers! Learning how to connect with readers, and attract a following may be the hardest part.  But sooner or later, if you stick with it, you’ll find where your [...]

Fighting Online Content Theft: Peer Pressure Can Work!

It seems that almost every day we learn of some new instance of online content theft. Some of it is unintentional – because people just don’t understand what content is OK to re-use and when. Sometimes it’s blatant thievery – people taking content that they haven’t created for their own purposes. So when it comes [...]

The Most Common Form of Copyright Infringement, and How to Avoid It

Sometimes, conversations about copyright veer into the realm of ethics and lawfulness, but today we’d like to have a more pragmatic conversation. If you publish online, you want people to spread your content. It’s also likely that being known as the source of what you write has a direct impact on your income. The messy [...]

Copyright and Fair Use: Keep Your Blog from Crossing The Line

Bloggers have an innate desire to share, exchange, and discuss ideas. The free exchange of ideas makes the blogosphere a uniquely engaging and inspiring place. One minute you’re reading a blog post that engages you, and before you know it, you are inspired to write your next post! What then informs our ability to share and [...]

Blog Copyright: 8 Do’s and Don’ts to Protect Your Content

Have you worked hard to create original content on a website or blog, only to have someone “borrow” it? That’s not right! Take time to review your blog: copyright is automatic, but it’s up to you to make sure that the right measures are in place to make compliance seamless. Here are 8 Do’s and Don’ts, to [...]

5 Critical Copyright Guidelines for Bloggers

What are the basic rules of copyright protection for bloggers? First and foremost:  When it comes to writing, sharing, and republishing other people’s content, the golden rule applies:  Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. Always get permission before posting another person’s copyrighted work on your blog or website! This is [...]

How To Fight Content Theft: Plagiarism Detection Tools

It’s hard work to create original content. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to make sure that your words aren’t being used on someone else’s website without your permission. When it comes to to detecting plagiarism and other forms of content piracy, you have several choices — from simple copy/paste plagiarism checkers, to more advanced anti-piracy software. Which [...]

© Copyright. . Info iCopyright. All Rights Reserved Terms | Site Map