Copyright Infringement and The Internet

The Internet seems to have blurred the lines of copyright infringement, or perhaps it has just made it easier for it to occur. There seem to be a lot of people online who either know nothing about it, or they are very good at pretending that they don’t. Either way, this is more serious than people think, and it is important to know what you are doing online. This isn’t just about writers, though there are huge problems with stolen content, but also with music and video.

I am a member of a message board that has been around for quite some time. The board is for children entertainers, and I have many great friends there. I remain there for that reason. One member decided to take footage of their DVDs and piece it together on Youtube, which constituted copyright infringement. She couldn’t understand why the moderator kept censoring and deleting the links she put up. She ended up getting banned because she was doing this. She was guilty of copyright infringement because she was posting copyrighted materials for free online. If you can get it for free, why bother buying? This is depriving them the right to do what they want with their own material. I still don’t think she gets it.

When you download any material for free from the Internet, you may be guilty of copyright infringement as well. There is some material out there that is free to use, but unless it is posted for free by the creator, it is not yours to take. This was why Napster got into so much trouble all of those years ago. It was an open and shut case of copyright infringement. Each time someone downloaded a song for free that person that owns that song is being deprived of the right to profit.

If you aren’t sure that what you are doing is legal or not, you should look up the laws on copyright infringement. You want to make absolutely sure that you are doing the right thing. If there is any doubt in your mind, don’t do it until you are sure. Another girl tried to put copies of CD’s on eBay for sale, and was immediately shut down. Had she taken the time to find out about copyright infringement, she would have known she should not be doing it. She claimed her family was going through a hard time and she had no idea that selling them was illegal. Ignorance is no excuse, and that defense won’t get you very far.

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