Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Al Law's photo of 'Faith', a Paradox Sailboat

Here is an example of the complexity of Internet copyright. This photo was taken by Al Law, who has given me permission to use it on my Blog, but if you visit the Google Co. UK’s search engine and insert the words, ‘paradox sailboat’, you’ll see the same image with a caption stating the photo may be subject to copyright, which may be quite true. How do you know, unless you see it coupled with a copyright caption? What if Al had included it on his web site under his copyright? In fact, he has not – see link below - neither does his website have a copyright caption, but that does not mean the photo is not his copyright. If he were to place the photo in the Public Domain without copyrighting it, I believe I’m right in saying he would loose his exclusive rights. Because the photo is available at my Blog without a copyright caption, does this mean he has lost his copyright? I’m no lawyer, so please accept that what I’m setting out here is a personal interpretation of how I understand the copyright law regarding websites.

Since I started this Blog on Wednesday, 16th February, 2005 I have received only two requests to remove photos that apparently infringed copyright. The most recent request gave me the incentive to research the subject, which is an area that could test the mind and knowledge of eminent lawyers. The law of the global Internet is a place where angels fear to tread and the devil has much freedom to cause havoc. The subject is vast, and there are aspects that are far from clear. Even countries have their own rules and regulations; hence the current battle between the Chinese authorities and Google with regard to censorship.

Let me say here, that if I have infringed the copyright of any material displayed at my Blog, I apologise to the grieved party. I will gladly remove such material. In most instances I add a link to sources from where I obtain information, images etc., which can only be good for the owners of those web sites. Bills-log is not a commercial website; indeed the regulations of Blogspot stipulate that wholesale commercialisation is not permitted, but reasonable use of Blogspot for limited financial gain is acceptable, such as the inclusion of a number of advertisements, say for the sale of books that may be available at Amazon. Jens Kuhn’s excellent Blog, Twin Keeler, includes an advert in the right-hand column of his Homepage for his book, ‘Gunboat Number 14’. The Blog of Thomas Armstrong,70.8%, contains 48 advertisements for books that can be purchased at Amazon.com. Incidentally, Thomas’s Blog is a cut above the average, and well worth earmarking as a favourite.

In the past I have built and maintained several websites; some of their content was copied and used at other sites, despite the fact that my pages displayed copyright status. Basically, for small-time players, copyright means very little, unless a company, group or an individual hugely profits from an infringement, but actually enforcing redress is a different matter and it can be so costly that it makes the exercise beyond the reach of most individuals.

Please feel free to copy and use whatever you like from my Blog, providing it is for your personal use on your own computer(s), and without financial gain to yourself or to others. I accept that a few people do not operate within such gentlemen’s agreements, and for them all is fair in love and war. If you are that person with no conscience, there’s very little I can do to prevent you misusing my material, but I would like you to know that I do not accept responsibility for any adverse repercussions because of your plagiarism.

My wish is that you will enjoy what you read here and that you will make http://bills-log.blogspot.com a favourite; furthermore, that you may tell your friends.


Twin Keeler




Website Law


Free Web Help – Copyright


Al’s ‘Little Jim’ Website



Masanja said...

You may find a lot of information at php tutorials too.

Thomas Armstrong said...

Bill, this issue is both timely and not without gravitas. Witness Chris Perkins sad decision to close his wonderful blog, http://strathkanchris.wordpress.com/
because of copyright infringement which he felt was intolerable and took the fun out of it for him. A loss, indeed. I personally will say that I've experienced a situation where someone appropriated an entire post of mine and presented it as their own. I felt outrage, but did not pursue the matter. I will add that on occasion I will take material from an institution or corporate publisher who I've sought permission from but who haven't responded in a more than reasonable amount of time, but never from a fellow blogger. I will in that case still credit the source, and might add the caveat posted without permission. Early on in my blogging Gavin Atkin of intheboatshed set me straight with a reprimand and since I always request permission.

My weblog does have a small commercial element, and I think I have made about $60.00 from the books I have listed in the time Ive been at this. Hardly a commercial enterprise.
I'd like to thank you for your kind remarks about 70.8% and add that in my estimation both the quality and quantity of your of your posts place you at the zenith of our little niche of the internet, and Bill, I do miss your website, it was a great resource. Thanks, Thomas

William Serjeant said...


Thank you for the link to php tutorials.

William Serjeant said...

Thanks Thomas, You are a true friend. I'm sorry to hear of your unfortunate experience when someone purloined your post. I've not been guilty of stealing the work of another blogger, by pretenting the work was mine. I've copied photos from sources that do not have copyright captions and used them on my Blog, but more often than not I've placed links to the sources, and I've certainly never made any financial gain from my Blog.