Ah, is it that time again? Time for another enlightening discussion of the rules? I am filled with a rapturous glee one can hardly describe. I know that you, too, are excited.

The Rule:
5. Do not post copyrighted materials. Posts, videos, or pictures found to contain copyrighted materials may be deleted without warning.

The Reason:
It is illegal to use a persons copyrighted material without their permission. There are exceptions to this rule as outlined by section 107 of the Copyright Act, (AKA the "Fair Use Clause") which you can read about here:


The basis if "Fair Use" is to provide people the freedom to comment on and criticize a piece of work by protecting their ability to reference it. What is and is not "fair use" is not well defined, so I am not going to even try as I am not a lawyer. I do encourage you to do some research if you are interested, there is a lot of information out there.

The Action:
If a copyright holder sends us a notice of infringement, we will likely remove the material and (possibly) suspend the account of the poster. Details of how to send us a notification or counter-notification is another project that needs to be tackled soon. In the mean time, if you are a copyright holder you can use the "Report and Issue" link with your intent to file a notification and we will send you further instructions.

We do not accept infringement notifications from anyone who is not the owner of the copyrighted material or an authorized agent of the owner of the copyrighted material (read as "lawyer".)

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Fred - I'm guessing (and moJoe, kindly correct me if I'm wrong) that the 'possible' account suspension would be in the case of a poster knowingly using copyrighted material illegally.

In many cases, we don't know. In particular, I'm thinking of any number of cartoons, pictures, drawings, clip art and images that get passed around the Internet. Sometimes there's a link or signature attached to it. That's what I'd do anyway if I were the author. But more often, there isn't and it's origin has long since been lost/forgotten.

In such a case, I'd still post it but certainly not claim it for my own. If the author suddenly appears and wants credit or removal, no problem. But are we really going to get on whomever posted it for not researching the hundred or so instances of that picture on the 'net looking for its originator? I would hope not.

In the case of videos, they're often embedded from the source, such as YouTube. That's as good as a link in most cases.

In the case of articles, the etiquette is to make clear in your own post when you're quoting the article versus adding your own commentary (here, we usually do it using italics). Always provide a link and never post the article in full.
My impression is that video embedding is just an efficient way of getting people to the video site, such as youtube. Youtube still run their ads on the video, even when it's embedded. They appear to encourage embedding by making it so damn easy to do so right on the youtube site, along with options for size and border.

Pics are less clear to me. When this was discussed before, it seemed like fair use to embed a smaller version or thumbnail, and cite the original page. I try to do that, but it doesnt hurt to be reminded once in a while. It seems like a slippery slope. Here is the US copyright webpage on fair use - even they aren't too clear, and this is straight from the horse's mouth. In part, they state:

"If you use a copyrighted work without authorization, the owner may be entitled to bring an infringement action against you. There are circumstances under the fair use doctrine where a quote or a sample may be used without permission. However, in cases of doubt, the Copyright Office recommends that permission be obtained"

For news articles, I usually quote a few lines, and direct the reader to the original source. I think this is what Joe does for the news group as well, so that copyright law is honored.
How much of someone else's work can I use without getting permission?
Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports. There are no legal rules permitting the use of a specific number of words, a certain number of musical notes, or percentage of a work. Whether a particular use qualifies as fair use depends on all the circumstances.

By the way, I don't think that is copyrighted, but I did quote and provide a link to the original article. Plus, it's a limited portion of the larger work, for purposes of commentary.

Here is more from the US copyright office on fair use.

"The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
The nature of the copyrighted work
The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work
The distinction between fair use and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission.

This is why I don't copy comics, each strip is clearly labeled as copyrighted, and I assume they mean it. On the other hand, anything from wikipedia commons is OK, based on their terms of use.

As Joe stated, "If a copyright holder sends us a notice of infringement, we will likely remove the material and (possibly) suspend the account of the poster. " That's a big "if".

It pays to always think about this. It seems to me that any image that comes up in google images is in effect, being reproduced for a moment, right there on your computer. Then again, Im no lawyer either, nor do I ever want to be.
Over on my Autism/Asperger's group, I used 2 Dilbert strips on the group's front page. One has the copyrights visible on the strip, the other it got cropped out when scaled down to avatar size.

In this case though, I figure Dilbert is a recognizable enough cartoon that most everyone will know who the images/strip really belong to. In a case like that, I usually find the owners are just happy for the free publicity. The page was approved with those strips on it, so I'm hoping that means it was/is ok with site rules?
I honestly don't know. I have to think about this some more as well. I would say, maybe it's best to at least link to the artist's website? It does seem odd to me that having it come up in a search on google images would be fair use but using it for commentary would not. I'll need to defer to others' opinions.
As far as I can tell I'm not profiting from... wait, you mean so AN is not blamed for one of it's users using ©'d stuff?

All in all, that's affirmative on #5.

I see how Hyundai got busted over the soccoer/wcup commercial with the pizza slices instead of eucharist and footballs in the stain glass; that vid was taken down by the 'holy sea' within hours if not minutes... only a snapshot on a xtian site to be found. Dang. I did not realize the catholic version of 'god' was ©'d. LOL, sigh, oh the waste of possible education and common sense across Africa (and Mexico IMHO) in the year 2010.


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