Copyright violation?

Subject: Copyright violation?
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1997 14:35:14 -0600

Misti Tucker wondered if someone using your text on their
web site is a copyright infringement. Yes and no...

A link to your text on your own site certainly isn't an
infringement. Quoting a small portion of a much larger text
_probably_ isn't (the doctrine of "fair use" permits
relatively extensive quotes). However, if the file is
physically present on someone else's server, then this is
definitely a copyright violation. If it appears without an
attribution (i.e., "written by Misti") or with someone
else's name attached, it's also plagiarism. If the errors
make you look like a fool or damage your reputation,
there's even the possibility you're dealing with defamation
of character or a related legal issue.

What can you do about it? Start off by being polite and
flattered: It's almost always nice when someone wants to
quote you! But do ask the person to fix the errors. If you
don't like the site (e.g., it's a neo-Nazi home page), you
could certainly insist that they remove the text. If they
refuse to comply with your requests, you can certainly call
in the lawyers, but most times, that's overkill. I'd talk
to the service provider that hosts the site (or, for a
company web page, to the company itself) before I'd try
legal suasion.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

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