Copying someone’s work has never had any respect – not in the past, not today, not in school, not at work and especially not in business. There are copyright issues that you will have to adhere to as an internet marketing business owner. Otherwise, you could violate ethical issues and even get into legal problems should someone complain. In internet marketing, copyright legal issues are such a concern mainly because of the nature of the environment online, where much of the content provided is for free.
Copyright and plagiarism
Copyright refers to the legal right to control reproduction and/or use of an original work. Usually, this right is given to the artist, writer or publisher of the work. If something is protected by a copyright, it means that its use or reproduction is restricted or controlled. Anyone wishing to use the content has to have the correct permission from the owner of the copyright.
Copyright and the Internet
Copyright infringement is related to plagiarism, the act of negligent or deliberate reproduction of words, thoughts or ideas either in part (as in the case of direct excerpts) or in full and then claiming them as original. Online and off, this is considered illegal. Many writers, professionals and business owners have been unmade because of copyright infringement. Interestingly enough, plagiarism is a word derived from plagiarus, which is Latin for ‘kidnapper’.
Copyright infringement is considered a virus on the internet and is not easily forgotten. Even offline, in the traditional business environment, copyright infringement remains a problem. The internet provides such an excellent opportunity for people to cooperate and share information and then allow access to it for free. The problem is that some people believe the word ‘free’ is a license to obtain content, reproduce it and use it to their own advantage.
This is false reasoning. Just because someone writes or shows content online that may be accessed free of charge does not mean you could take it and pass it off as your own or use it for some commercial purpose. You cannot, for example, take a few paragraphs from an article on a book, website or blog, copy them and then use them on your own website without acknowledging the author or writer or asking permission to republish it.
Bits and pieces
There is, however, a gray area in copyright legal issues when it comes to internet marketing. Copyright, for one, has a limited time period of coverage and will lapse. There are also content that are made available through public domain. When content does enter a lapse period or if it’s found in a public domain, it is quite possible that someone could take that content and plagiarize it without actually committing a copyright infringement. So does that make it legal? What about the copyright legal issues?
In this case, the issue probably just escapes the legal restrictions and enters ethical domain. Remember that not everything that is legal is always right. You cannot, for example, use someone else’s work and claim it as your own without their permission and believe in your heart you aren’t cheating.
The ethical side of internet marketing
All businesses should be ethical and legal. Since internet marketing is such an excellent medium for business, it would be such a waste to abuse how it works. It has its drawbacks, true, but it doesn’t have to break laws. Furthermore, it exposes your business to unnecessary trouble. Once content has been published online, it can be extremely difficult to take it back, particularly if people have already seen it or used it. You do not want to be labeled as a plagiarist or a violator of copyright because then you will not be seen as a legitimate internet marketer.
Furthermore, your internet marketing website will also suffer from your carelessness. If you violate any copyright legal issues, your website will be penalized, rendering it useless and making you, the internet marketer, essentially an outcast. You lose your search rankings and in effect, your customers and your business.