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Copyright Issues: and what will get your posts edited/deleted on AWs

webmaster

The Grass is Greener!
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
All,

Recently we have had quite a few copyright infringements on the website, that have caused us to edit and delete posts/threads. I have been in error with some of my old posts, and we are making a concerted effort to make sure this website is in compliance with the law.

So, I ask those of you that are posting articles or information that is subject to copyright, to please consider the following, excerpt from a post by HeyJoe, aviator, and former magazine editor:

Here is what the Copyright Office says:

The distinction between “fair use” and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author's observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

Copyright protects the particular way an author has expressed himself; it does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in the work.

The safest course is always to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material. The Copyright Office cannot give this permission.

When it is impracticable to obtain permission, use of copyrighted material should be avoided unless the doctrine of “fair use” would clearly apply to the situation. The Copyright Office can neither determine if a certain use may be considered “fair” nor advise on possible copyright violations. If there is any doubt, it is advisable to consult an attorney.

FL-102, Revised July 2006


http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

What is important here to Air Warriors and websites in general is it is not up to the poster to determine whether it is fair use or infringement as the "distinction" is not always clear or "easily defined". Therefore, the lawyers I have worked with that specialize in this area of Intellectual Property have advised that the safest course of action is to not post any copyrighted material without permission. Air Warriors doesn't qualify as:

- quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment
- quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work
- illustration or clarification of the author's observations
- use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied
- summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report
- reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy
- reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson
- reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports
- incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported

The second case is how college students can use copyrighted material with proper citation. Some might think Air Warriors might qualify for the first or fourth case, but lawyers I have talked to said there is enough wiggle room for the holder of the copyright to come after a website if you don't have permission. The question then is whether you want to take the risk of a minimum $150,000 per instance lawsuit. And if it isn't clear, these type lawsuits usually go for the website and not the individual unless they think there's money there. If violations are removed swiftly by the website, there is no issue as due diligence has been exercised and the poster is at fault whether it is an act of omission or commission although they can claim in court that they thought they posted under fair use. The courts do not give websites as much leeway as they are held to a higher standard and are assumed to have derived greater benefit (whether there is a commercial enterprise involved or not) by hosting of copyrighted material.

Another consideration is even if Air Warriors decided to take the risk and allow instances of "a line or two or even two or three paragraphs", then as you note: they absolutely have to cite the source and the fact it is copyrighted material or you have committed a further breach of Intellectual Property rights by failing to protect someone's material (ie someone may come across it and decide to use it not knowing it was protected by copyright).

As a former magazine editor and author, I dealt with copyright issues daily and have been immersed in this issue for 20 plus years and had lawyers preaching the finer points from time to time. I believe you have to be very careful in this regard and the point is to avoid the lawsuit in the first place, not set yourself up to have to defend your actions or lack thereof.
The bottom line:

Do NOT cut and paste copyrighted material into the forums. Provide a link for users to reference (visit the other site), so they can review and comment.

If you fail to do that, expect that you will be warned the first time, and your post edited. On subsequent infractions, if the poster continues to ignore the request, their account will be deleted, along with all posts/threads created.

If there are any questions feel free to post here for clarification, or to PM either myself, Steve Wilkins or HeyJoe. Note, HeyJoe has been gracious enough to spend some of his free time to help me bring this website up to speed on this issue. He is a supermoderator here, and he has my full concurrence and support in editing/deleting posts as necessary. That is to make sure that any of you that have gotten PMs from him, and wondering what is going on with the website. It all has my whole hearted approval.

Mahalo,

John
 

HeyJoe

Fly Navy! ...or USMC
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Bump, Part Deux

Please read and heed. After long hiatus, we're getting 1-2 instances of Copyright issues a day as of late
 
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