Several years ago I built a website for my client screenwriter/poet Deborah George Streit. Recently she decided to start a blog to publish a set of her short fiction pieces. Part of the process for her was sorting out how to handle issues of copyright and sharing. She worried about others seeing her work online and lifting it. Also, she wasn’t sure how publishing specific work online was going to affect her ability to get that work picked up by other publishers.
For Deborah and all my clients who are thinking about these issues, you’ll find good information about online copyright and licensing at Creative Commons. There is no one right answer or right way to do things. By default your creative work is protected by copyright and you reserve all rights to its use. What you do from there is your choice and you put it into action via licensing. To sort out for yourself what your personal philosophy is about sharing and other people using your creative work, consider the following:
- What are your goals for putting your work online? To participate in a broad online community? To showcase your work as widely as possible? To build an online reputation? etc. How might various levels of sharing enhance your effort?
- Do you want others to freely use your work with or without permission? With or without attribution?
- Do you mind if others extract pieces of your work or refashion pieces of your work and do you always care about attribution or permission?
- Do you always want compensation for any use of your work?
For example, another client, Jeff McCord, is an investigative journalist in the area of financial fraud. He publishes his articles in The Investor Advocate, a blog I set up for him about a year ago. His mission is to distribute his reporting as widely as possible and build readership. He wants link backs to his web site from prominent financial news organizations and reporters. He also wants to build an online presence and reputation as the go-to reporter for in-depth analysis in this area. Everything on his blog is copyrighted with all rights reserved. He lets other online publishers reprint his articles with permission or license.
Read the information at Creative Commons and decide how you want to handle copyright and licensing of your creative work. And, work with your web designer to get the appropriate designations in place on your web site.
Posted by Smart Alice Web Design & Photography, smart web design for people who want a unique and effective presence on the internet.
Copyright 2012, Alice Gebura, All Rights Reserved.