Copyright for the Internet
Copyright is the exclusive right to reproduce, publish, and
sell the matter and form of a literary, musical or artistic work.
What can I copy?
There are no specific rules for the Web. Nevertheless, most Web applications have analogs in the print world that you can use to guide your activities.
How many copies may I make?
Consider what it is you are copying. For example, a blog entry is very much like an essay, so use the print guidelines that cover essays to guide you. An email message is very much like an unpublished letter. Letters are highly protected by copyright unless the author publishes the letter. You can probably let someone see your copy of an email, just like a letter, but you would likely not be able to forward that email or publish it in substantial part without permission.
What about Web 2.0 applications like YouTube and Twitter?
Copyright law has not caught up to these newer technologies, so you should probably apply the four tests of fair use when you wish to copy, adapt, or redistribute material from those applications. Of course, if they are similar to non-Web material, use the guidelines for those.
This brochure was reprinted from Copyright for Schools: A Practical Guide, 5th edition,
by Carol Simpson, Linworth Publishing, copyright 2010.