[LINK] Copyright questions

Stilgherrian stil at stilgherrian.com
Thu Mar 24 17:02:05 AEDT 2011

>From a legal perspective...

On 24/03/2011, at 4:38 PM, Karl Auer wrote:
>> If I find a document on the web and put a copy of it (unchanged) on my
>> website and make reference to it, am I doing anything wrong - legally
>> or otherwise?
> I suspect (but do not know) that even if the doc is referenced properly,
> full credit given where due and so on and so forth, it would still be
> seen by the current legal system as an act that the copyright owner
> could object to.
> The owner may have good reasons for not wanting the work duplicated on
> another website. For example, it may be something that the copyright
> owner feels is only valid in the particular context he/she placed it in,
> and by removing it from that context, you have in some way diminished
> its validity. Or (more prosaically) he/she may wish to count hits,
> downloads etc; by making it available on your site, you deprive the
> copyright owner of that information.
> The obvious question is also, of course, why not just link to it?

All this is correct. Copyright -- that is, the right to copy -- belongs to the creator until, loosely speaking, 70 years after their death. They, and they alone, can give permission -- a license -- for it to be copied / distributed.

The only exceptions in Australiamn are listed in the Copyright Act under "fair dealing". Loosely speaking, they include limited rights to use extracts for the purposes of academic discussion and review, adapting for parody and the reporting of news. There may be a few others, I'm too lazy to look right now.

>> If that document is now no longer available on the web and I put a copy 
>> of it (unchanged) on my website and make reference to it, am I doing 
>> anything wrong - legally or otherwise?

Makes no difference. It's not your decision as to whether it may be reproduced or not.

There's great material about this stuff at http://www.copyright.com.au/ ... though it's written from the point of view if people protecting the copyrights of, mainly, authors.


Stilgherrian http://stilgherrian.com/
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