Thursday, April 28, 2011
The long and the short of the matter is this: whenever a person creates from scratch a work of art, music, video (movies; etc.), or written text; that piece of work belongs to them, and they hold the copyrights. Without having legally and purposely filed the work with an attorney, the Federal Law allows for authors of an intellectual property to not only stake a claim on his or her work, but to sue an opposing party for any assumed damages from use of the property without express permission.
Website design and Internet use makes this a tricky subject to cover. Certainly if site developers create something for their site, they are therefore the owners of said intellectual property. As owners of said handiwork, they are protected under the US Copyright Law of 1976, and as a result of this are granted five specific privileges. Originators of any intellectual property are granted the rights to make copies of their work, make variations of their work, and distribute, display, or perform the opus publicly. Make no mistake though; if a person goes to a website and takes from it any of the composition therein, they have committed a copyright crime.
Be it code, an image, text, music, or video; more likely than not the product borrowed belongs to the site author(s). On way to avoid this dilemma would be to possibly email the site originator(s), and see if they mind their work being used in the manner with which an outside person may wish to use it. Some creators may not mind, and would only ask for credit to be given for the use of the product. However, make no mistake that the images, text, and other properties found on Google.com still belong to someone, and are not legally copied or used.