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Looks like I'm in a meta mood today. But I've had to ban a bunch of people recently for copyright infringement, and that brings me zero joy (unlike zapping assholes, trolls, and wingers).

Look people -- I'm taking copyright violations seriously. We have the benefit of being in a medium where we can easily direct people to source material via hyperlink.

So when blogging another story, take just a few paragraphs, blockquote them, and add a link to the source material. As for copyrighted photos, don't post them. It's not just a matter of the law, but of common decency and respect. People work hard to produce their content. Respect their work and don't use it without permission.

If you want to take something wholesale, ask for permission. Or check to see if the site you want to take from has an open content license (like this one. Check the copyright notice). If you have permission, please note that in your diary so everyone knows you are in the clear.

I'm looking into subscribing to the AP and/or Reuters photo services, which would allow us to use their photos. Whether I can pull it off obviously depends on how expensive the services are. As far as written content is concerned, wholesale infringement will always be off-limits.

So please think twice about exposing the site (and yourself) to legal liability. In our hyperlinked, networked world, it's completely unnecessary. Thanks.

Update: No one is perfect. In the Nightline profile of me, the show's producers took a photo of me they dug up in Google images and displayed it in the segment. Too bad for them, the image was copyrighted, owned by the photographer. He was able to squeeze ABC for a royalty payment.

That's to say, accidents happen. And the line between "fair use" and "infringement" are sometimes not crystal clear. I'm willing to allow some gray area, and even fight for genuine fair use. But wholesale reproductions will never meet the Fair Use guidelines.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Jan 18, 2007 at 12:07 PM PST.

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