When I was an intern at a large lobbying organization in Washington, I prepared a memo for a lobbyist and added footnotes to cite where I found the information. After my supervisor reviewed the memo, he asked, “What are all these numbers following the sentences?” I told him they were footnotes to back up the data I found and to give credit where credit his due. He handed me back the memo and asked me to remove the footnotes. He told me in Washington they just “lift” information….They lift it from one document and put it on another.
In today’s world, with the increased use of social and mobile media, it is easy to lift things from one site to another, without giving credit to the original author. But can we? Can you post an excerpt from a copyrighted news article in your blog? What about images…Can you put copyrighted images in a powerpoint, that you found on a “Google Image Search” and will later post on SlideShare?
In fact, Fair Use/Copyright laws and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act provide us with some direction as to what we can and shouldn’t do, post or share, as it pertains to copyrighted materials.
In full disclosure, I got the idea for this blog from a blog post on Cision’s blog found at http://blog.us.cision.com/2011/10/how-does-fair-use-of-copyrighted-work-apply-to-branded-content/#fbid=8RTmDURsWbZ?more-6771. Nonetheless, it is a great issue because we all get caught up in cutting and pasting and sharing videos, images and other things on line, with little direction as to what we can and should not — until now.