Copyright and the Internet

       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. 

       To see more about topic of Internet copyright, take a look at these links:

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Updated: June 4, 2002       ...8:28 p.m. ms