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Copyright Notice Explanation

Since no one has asked me about the tiny, hopefully unobtrusive copyright notice I've started placing at the bottom of each entry, I figured I'd post a quick explanation.

Very simply, I've discovered that there's been some blogs out there that are automatically copying posts from other people's blogs verbatim, without attribution. This is mostly happening in cases where the blogs are "quoting" fiction posted on the web, but it's also happening with regular posts.

Since LJ has RSS syndication of whole posts without the option to syndicate only a teaser, I've decided that I need to add that little bit of protection to each post of mine. Although I do lay out a whole copyright notice on my actual journal page, given RSS and F-lists people rarely bother to visit it. Hence the tiny notice I'm now placing at the bottom of each entry.

As for the notice on my front page, it currently reads, "Note that all content is copyright Michael A. Burstein. You may syndicate or quote entries on the web as long as you include attribution, but all hard copy rights are reserved. "

Copyright © Michael Burstein


i can't speak for anyone else, but i kindof figured that's what it was about. oh and yes, i find it unobtrusive. the smaller font helps greatly in that regard. :)
Since no one has asked me..., I figured I'd post a quick explanation.

But if we had asked, you would have been close-mouthed? :-)

(BTW, the last time I researched international copyright law, to fully protect yourself you'd need to include the year and the sentence "All rights reserved." American copyright law, of course, doesn't even require a formal copyright notice any more.)

I generally don't wait for people to ask... :-)

I'll see what else I might want to add.
Under the Berne Convention, which the US joined in 1989 and which includes 160 countries, works are automatically protected by copyright without requiring any notice.
Yes, I know, But the copyright notice can't hurt, and if someone has set up a computer program to just copy a post verbatim into another blog...it'll carry my name with it.
it'll carry my name with it.

Ah, good point. (I, too, was thinking it unnecessary but perhaps smart anyway.)
Do you automate that (and if so, how), or do you just add it manually at the end of each post?
I just add it manually. It's not that hard. The copyright symbol is a piece of html: & copy ; but eliminate the spaces.
RSS 2.0 has an optional <copyright/> element, and Atom 1.0 has an optional <rights/> element, but apparently LJ does not use those on its syndication feeds.
heh. I asked gnomi Thursday. :)


How would you find out if somebody had been doing that to your entries? (Not that I write anything anybody would find worth stealing.) I just don't know how you'd ever catch somebody doing that.
If you run a blog search on a phrase from one of your posts, and it turns up elsewhere, then you can check that other post and see if it was simply copied from yours.
The vigilance of friends also helps. The sports blogs have been hit by this phenomenon pretty hard. For examples, see Basegirl and Cursed to First. The latter blog also has links to much more widespread cases. If you follow those deeply enough, you'll run into some really stupid justifications by some of the offenders.

This isn't a perfect enforcement mechanism by any means. But when someone becomes well-known enough to be found by plagiarists, I would guess they're posting frequently on a particular topic, like baseball or writing. Eventually, those who track down blogs on such subjects may end up noticing the overlap and notifying the victim. It's another tool, at least, and it looks as though every tool will be needed in this particular conflict.

By the way, Michael: I actually was gonna ask, if that's any comfort! But it seemed such an off-topic question to ask in the affected posts, and I didn't want to pester you if I just needed to check for any entries I might have missed first ... and this way you got a whole new posting out of it! :>
Oh, it's okay if no one had asked by then. I frequently answer questions that I expect people will have before they ask them, by saying something like, "Since no one asked, I thought I'd answer the following..." :-)
What about when you cite other published works in your blog, like your Robert's Rules of Writing posts?
Citing something else falls under "Fair Use." And when I do cite something, you'll notice that I cite it, i.e. I say where it came from and I give full credit. What I'm responding to are blogs which just copy verbatim a post from another blog, with no citation, reference, or credit at all.
Funny you should mention that. I saw it and wondered, "why did I never notice that before?"

However, I didn't wonder why it was there, as I remembered your copyright notice on your userinfo page. Mostly, I figured I had been previously unobservant.

December 2016

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