Friday, September 16, 2005

Copyright and the Pagan Net

Stealing among Pagans is rampant, especially in newsgroups, messages boards, blogs and zines. It results as much from carelessness and ignorance as it does from improper intent. Nevertheless, ignorance is no excuse.

Here is a clear article on copyright infringement, written for the lay person:

It states, in part, that "The illegal use of text content is a form of copyright infringement. It is common on the world wide web for text to be copied from one site to another without consent of the author. Roberta Beach Jacobson criticizes the misappropriation of writers' work by websites in her article Copyrights and Wrongs."

What follows is a brief primer on how to quote from a work and not steal

If quoting from a work posted online:

1. One can quote a paragraph or two from a work on the net, but not the entire piece, and a link should always follow. If you want to quote the entire piece, you must have the author's express permission, and you need to state that fact on your site.

2. The author's name should be listed (along with the group they belong to, or wrote it for, if relevant). The link should be given so that people want to read the rest can do so.

3. Add in the author's email, if you can, so that people can respond to their work directly.

4. If you have permission to quote an entire internet piece then say "Reprinted with permission of the author".

Educational exceptions:

5. The law allows a limited amount of copies to be made of a work for educational purposes. This applies to state licensed teachers, and colleges. It limits what they can quote on an educational website and or copy for their class to a number of paragraphs and pages. It does not allow one to copy the entire article or story or book of poems, etc. (Please note: This refers to educational institutions, not Pagan groups. We do not have the right to copy a work or an article in full to "educate" our newsgroup, coven or circle.)

Linking to an article posted elsewhere is not copyright infringement. This is legal and it is accepted practice on the Internet. As a courtesy, one should inform the author that the link is posted. If they object, for any reason, it would be polite to take down said link.

Posting an article, chapter or text in full, to your page or your group's page without the author's express permission is copyright infringement.

The net makes it far too easy to steal, and people get lazy. This is one reason why so many Pagan authors don't like to share their work here. It's a far, far worse situation when it comes to art.

Please see the articles below with regard to quoting from printed works and Internet works, and/or copying these for use in classes, workshops, etc.

I recommend reading:

The Internet, Paganism and Copyrights by Trish Telesco

Pagan Writers, Artists and Musicians Band Together To Protect Copyright by Charles Arnold:

and I quote from that article:

"Therefore, we wish to inform the Pagan community that we, individually and collectively, will, from this day forth, act in support of one another. If we find the creative work of a person posted or copied in some other manner and we have any suspicion whatsoever as to whether the creator has given permission for the display of this work, we will notify that person immediately. If we find obvious violations of copyright, we will immediately demand that such piracy end immediately. If our honest and reasonable requests that such copyright infringement meet with no success, we will immediately report this illegal activity to the appropriate legal authorities. And, if violations continue, we pledge to fully support one another in whatever legal recourse proves necessary, whether this consists of filing criminal charges or initiating a civil proceeding."

Also helpful:

Writers, Farmer, Witches & Copyright by by Maggie Shayne

Theft on the Pagan Web by Fritz Jung

Freedom of Information and Supporting Pagan Creators 1.5 by Issac Bonewitz:

Stealing is wrong - it's that simple. It's wrong, even if you give it away for free, because unless you have created it yourself, it is not yours to give.


Updated with additional links and notes on 9/14/07

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