The word copyright actually comes from the phrase ‘the right to copy’. From old times, it has been a common thing to copy or ‘lift’ something created by someone else. Copied books, copied films and copied music are a rampant occurrence. Copying is so much easier than slogging to produce original, high quality work. However, since this is obviously unfair, there are laws to protect the original author or producer from unlawful reproduction of his work. The internet is a global domain used simultaneously by millions of users around the world.
The very idea of developing the internet was based on the premise that information, services and products should be freely accessible to people all over the world. However, like all good things, there is a downside to this concept in the form of plagiarism of content.
Plagiarism refers to blatant lifting or copy of content in the form of text or images or music from the original maker of that product.Owing to the abundance of material on the internet, there are plenty of opportunities available to adopt someone’s blog content ‘unofficially’ – and not get caught, but copyright laws on the internet deter this offense. Copyright laws offer exclusive rights of the articles or blog or music to the person who created that content. A user can register his copyright over a particular piece of work.
Copyright can be registered for a limited period of time after which the copyright lapses. Copyright can also be transferred officially following set procedures, which allow the author to hand over the copyright to his work. Copyright infringement can be addressed by severe penalties in a court of law. This is why all written pieces are scanned by preventative software like CopyScape or Plagarismsearch to make sure they are not violating copyright laws. One violation of that sort can ruin the reputation of the content creator in question irretrievably. In some countries like the US, when a net user creates content, his content is automatically protected by copyright infringement without separate registration of copyright claims. It is not uncommon to hear of two individuals contesting a copyright case where both claim to be the original owner of a website or website content.
There are some classes of content, which cannot be copyrighted from the public. Some of these include material authored by the US government (information on federal laws and court decisions, etc.), scientific idea or principles, reprinted public works and commonly used material like calendars and phone directories. Again, this does not mean someone can produce a calendar with the same photos or pictures as someone else has already done.
To summarize, users should be careful about how much information they wish to share on the internet. Browsers, likewise, should be aware that the internet is a public domain with some codes of ethics regulating its usage. The two best methods to prevent this are by refraining from revealing valuable information and by taking care to register the content under rightful ownership.