When Copying A Work If You Give Credit, Do You Still Need Permission to Copy? Before you have to even consider playing your ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card the short answer is absolutely yes!
There is a huge misconception among Internet users and Bloggers that as long as credit is given to the Copyright owner, it is permissible to copy, reproduce, use snippets or paraphrase of the copyright protected work. However, the Copyright Act clearly states: any person who exercises the exclusive rights of a copyright owner, without the copyright owner’s express permission, is an infringer of copyright. 17 USC sec. 501(a).
This means that anyone who wants to use the copyright of a copyright owner must directly contact the copyright owner and receive written (express) permission to copy or reproduce the work. Simply giving credit will not do.
This law also pertains to photos. When writing blog posts, most bloggers simply search the Internet for an image to complement their blog post. This is a dangerous practice and can result in a Cease and Desist letter from the Copyright Owner or a Copyright Infringement action. To avoid legal action, simply contact the owner and ask if it is permissible to use their image. The majority of Copyright owners will agree as long as you give them credit. A simple email will only take 5 minutes to write. This is a small time investment to ensure you are not breaking the law. If you can not locate the Copyright owner, use your own image and/or writing. Copying without permission is simply not worth the legal headache.
However, there are certain instances where copying a work without the Copyright Owner’s permission is permissible. A copyright owner can use a creative commons license to allow users to use their work without permission in certain circumstances. Below is an example of a Creative Common License:
1. You are free to copy the work as long as you attribute the work to the copyright owner. However you can not use the work for commercial (monetary) purposes.
Lastly, a statement such as the one below, does not protect an individual from Copyright Infringement Actions:
If you hold the copyright(s) to any music or other content that can be found here and would like for it to be removed, please contact me and it will be removed immediately.
This clause is not a “safe haven” for Copyright Infringers. I will say it again, you must get the Copyright Owner’s express permission to use the Copyright protected work. The above clause will only expose an Infringer to liability.