Although this article does not apply directly to old time radio series and MP3 files, the same rules do. Therefore, we think it very valuable.

                               Online Copyright Myths
                                  By Judith Kallos 
Possunt quia posse videntur ~ (Latin: They can because they think they can.)  
     One of the most misunderstood issues online has to do with copyright. Both with e-mail and Web site copyright
issues. For some reason, as with many things online, there is this incorrect perception that anything goes.
However, many are finding out the hard way that when it comes to protecting creative collateral, copyright is law.
And, copyright laws can and are being enforced online.  No, I am not an attorney. Nor do I play one on T.V. But I
can help you avoid potential problems based on guiding clients for over a decade. Hopefully, this effort will help
others from finding out the hard way that copyright is alive and well online.

1) "I can right click, save anything online and use it how I  wish."  This is a perfect example of just because you
can doesn't mean you do! Those graphics or files were created by someone out there. They legally attained the
copyright upon that file's creation. Without their specific permission to use that file or graphic, you have no right to
just take it and use it as you please. Always ask a site owner before you illegally swipe anything off their site. 

2) "As long as I note the author's name, I can use their site's content on my site."  Although you are being nice
and giving credit where credit is due, you still need to ask the author's permission to post their work on your site.
The author may not want their information posted anywhere off their own site or they many not approve of your
site as a venue for their information - that is their choice to make not yours. Always ask a site owner if you can use
their content before you put it on your site. 

3) "I can link to graphics on other sites so that they display on my site."  O.K., maybe you didn't actually download
the graphic and put it on your server, but if you are displaying someone else's work on your site without their
permission the bottom line is still the same. And, you are using their server's resources to display something on
your site. Shame on you!  

4) "I can display pages from other's Web sites within frames on my site."  Many site owners prohibit their site
pages from being framed within another site because it gives the impression that the other site created the
information. Many times folks innocently do this so they don't have to send site visitors off their site for
information they want to provide. Others do so to precisely give the impression it is content they created. A better
option is to link to the information you like and create a new window to open when doing so to ensure your site is
still available to your site visitors.  

5) "If I only quote a portion of another site's content and link to them I do not need their permission."  Again, it
would behoove you to have permission to do so. Using only portions allows you to possibly give the wrong
impression about the author's overall content and this can be misleading at best. If you want to quote any written
work in whole or part you need to ask permission to do so.  

6) "If I pay someone to create graphics for my Web site, I own the copyright to those graphics."  Not necessarily.
Unless your agreement with the graphic artist explicitly states that upon your payment all of their rights are then
transferred to you, you most likely only have exclusive license to use those graphics. And to purchase the full
copyright will cost you a bunch more than simple exclusivity!  Understand that the moment anything is created
whether it be written or drawn, the creator owns the copyright, -that's the law. Over the years I've had clients
claim they own copyright just because they paid me to create this or that. It simply, legally, is not the case (and
my contract(s) clearly state this - including their option to purchase my copyright if they so choose).  Copyright
can only be transferred in a written legally binding agreement signed by the creator of the work stating they are
transferring their rights to you. Saying you own it because you paid for it doesn't make it legal fact. If you do not
have a written agreement specifically transferring the copyright to you, you do not own the copyright to those

7) "E-mail is not copyright protected once it is sent."  E-mail is a written work that once created is copyright
protected by the author. This means you cannot post publicly an e-mail sent to you privately. You cannot post
private e-mails to your site, to message boards or to your blog without the author's specific permission to do so. 
Just because an e-mail was sent to you as a private communication does not mean you then own it and can do
with it what you like. In addition, e-mail that is posted to a group of people, on a mailing list or Newsgroup does
not make the e-mail available for reposting, copying, or any other use - not without the express and written
consent of the writer.  

     What's the bottom line with online copyright?  Courtesy! Don't assume that you can use, repost or take
anything you find online simply because you can. Be a courteous Netizen and always ask first!  You might be
interested to find a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) page and policy statement on your ISP and hosting
provider's Web sites to handle complaints and reports of the above types of copyright abuse. Take some time to
read that information and make yourself aware of your rights and make sure you do not infringe on others. The
main resource for all the legal mumbo jumbo on online copyright and the DMCA is on the Government's site at  . 
Again, I am not an attorney nor am I providing legal advice. I hope I've informed you of some of the issues that
need to be seriously considered by all who are online whether they are creating their own or using others creative
or written works. 
Judith Kallos is an authoritative and good-humored Technology Muse. Check out her new book:
"Because Netiquette Matters! Your Comprehensive Reference Guide to E-mail Etiquette and Proper
Technology Use" at:
Copyright © 2004 Jayde Online, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
SiteProNews is a registered service mark of Jayde Online, Inc.
Reprinted by permission