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       The World Wide Web is possibly the largest arena of personal thievery in existence today.  The vast majority of people using the Internet freely take words and images that belong to someone else....and see nothing wrong with it.  If you walk up to someone on the street, and take something from them without permission, most people would clearly agree that is an act of thievery.  Yet the same people will visit a Website, copy words and use them in a report for school, or copy a picture and put it on their website, without thinking about the fact that it belongs to someone else.

       The truth is that every item created by someone is legally copyrighted.  Automatically.  As soon as any self-created work [in any artistic form] is finished, the maker of that work has a valid copyright to it; and can distribute it, sell it, or give it away as they choose.

       The problem is that current laws don't cover the Internet very well.  United States laws cover domestic issues, and there are foreign laws regarding copyright, but none that effectively cover electronic media yet.

       There are a number of forces arguing that material on the Internet should be free for all users, and there are some historical precedents where computer codes and other materials were--and still are--freely shared.  We will return to this issue in some detail next week.

       To see more about topic of Internet copyright, read this article, The Law and the Web: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You, at C-Net's Website.

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This page was last edited on June 18, 2000.


These pages were developed through GirlTECH, a teacher-training program sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Education (CEEE) and made possible by support from the National Science Foundation through EOT-PACI.
Copyright   Michael Sirois, GirlTECH, June 2000.


last edited, ms 6-18-2k, 11:08.