Copyright and Fair Use

Learn about copyright and fair use issues facing writers today in this free lesson. It's especially important in the age of digital technology.

Protecting your intellectual property

Copyright protects the things you create too. You own the original content you post on your blog, share on your website, or write in your research paper. If people copy or steal your intellectual property, you have the right to try and stop them.

Guarding your content online

The best way to protect your content is to keep an eye out for it elsewhere. These tips can help you determine if someone else has published your work online, like on a website or blog.

What to do if you find your content on another site

There are two things you can do if you find your images, text, or other media on someone else's website or blog. First, you can contact the person who runs the blog or site that took your content. Most blogs list a contact email address, but if you can't find one you can always leave a comment on the offending post. Ask firmly but politely to remove your content (or give you credit if you don't mind sharing it). This can work, especially in cases when the other person didn't realize any wrongdoing had occurred.

If contacting the blogger doesn't work, you may want to file a DMCA takedown request. DMCA refers to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, a law that's designed to help copyright holders protect their content. Under this law, if a site steals your original content you can complain to that site's service provider. If the service provider finds your complaint valid, it will take down the content.

To learn more about filing a DMCA complaint, read How to Send a DMCA Takedown Notice by Carolyn E. Wright from the blog Black Star Rising.