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 Copyright in forums

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PostSubject: Copyright in forums   Copyright in forums Icon_minitimeFri Feb 04, 2011 11:55 am

The question often arises, when may we copy and paste images/articles from/onto forums.

There are a lot of myths for instance,

people say that if there appear no notice of copyright, there are no copyright,
photos on the web is in public domain and therefore you are allowed to copy and paste;
I have changed the image and therefore copyright does not exist anymore;
I gave proper credit to the author and therefore it is OK.

Our Intellectual rights including copyright in South Africa are mainly governed by the Copyright Act 98 of 1978.

In terms of the act, copyright exist irrespective of whether it has been reserved or not and all images has copyright unless it has prescribed or were posted or published copyright-free.

However, the are a few exceptions given in the Act (Section 15) of which most is not applicable to this forum or other forums.

The most important exception for our purpose is that copyright is not infringed by using the work to the extend justified by the purpose, by way of illustration or for teaching.

Our Courts place a lot of emphasis on the cause. Why was the article/image copied and pasted and for what purpose was it used?

However, this exception is only valid if you quote the web page as well as the author if it appears on the site. The guideline is that you should quote the home page of the site, and optionally the page from where the article or images has been take from.

In other parts of the world, this exception is referred to as "fair use". In South Africa, we refer to it as "fair dealing"

Conclusion: In view of the fact that the main purpose of this forum is to educate, articles and images to illustrate a principle of koi keeping would fall under this exception and copy and paste will be allowed, provided that you state the source and author if the author's name is mentioned.

However, should you use images or articles contained on the web in your commercial web site or for other commercial use, you will have to ask permission from the author or web site administrator of such article/image/site. If not, you may be criminally prosecuted, the author may apply for an interdict or you may be sued in a Civil Court for damages.

Example of an acceptable way: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


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