Some people earn off-farm income by selling homemade crafts. Others by making welded repairs. Still others by selling their writing, photography, or artwork to publications such as RURAL HERITAGE.
As desktop publishing becomes easier and more prevalent, people who know little about publishing or copyright can freely create newsletters, letterhead stationery, and other printed matter that once required the services of a professional. In looking for articles to fill up their newsletters, or a logo to advertise their business, they naturally seek ideas in the publications they receive in the mail.
Similarly, those who create personal home pages search the Internet looking for text or artwork or zippy html code to copy.
The problem comes when an article or photograph or piece of artwork is directly lifted from a publication or website, and the person who does the copying gives no thought to who owns the material. But consider this: the unauthorized use of articles and artwork is called "theft of intellectual property."
Sounds pretty strong, but that's exactly what it is. By federal law, the ownership of an article, piece of artwork, or other such "intellectual property" belongs to the person who created it. If anyone else wants to use it, they must get permission from the owner, who may have spent years honing skills with words, camera, or pen and paper while bearing the costs of acquiring the necessary toolscomputer, camera, drawing tables, etc.
RURAL HERITAGE magazine is copyrighted, as is this website (as evidenced by the copyright notice at the bottom of the homepage). Just as the copyright notice on the first page of the magazine applies to the whole magazine, so too does the notice on the homepage apply to every page on this site. So if you see an article you would like to reprint or artwork that's exactly what you've been looking for, please ask permission by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Not only is it the law, but it's the right thing to do.
P.S. You might be interested in reading what San Francisco attorney Neil L. Shapiro has to say about taking material from someone else's website, posted at asktheattorney.org.
PO Box 2067, Cedar Rapids IA 52406-2067
Phone: 319-362-3027 Fax: 319-362-3046
24 July 2001