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Copyright Basics, Using Published Resources    

        Copyright questions and the re-use of information found on the web, in books, and other sources can be a difficult issue. This essay is as I understand it from professional counsel (see references below) and research, and not offered as professional advice (although the content of this page has been reviewed by credentialed sources for accuracy). You should refer to the US Copyright Office or the US Patent and Trademark offices for specific information.

        Intellectual property (that is writing, drawing, composing... any method of creative presentation) is automatically protected under the Copyright Laws of 1976 and 1978, once the material is placed in fixed form (including but not limited to print, magnetic media, sound recording, and the internet). It is not required to be published (that being defined as distributed to the public). Registration with the US Copyright Office is not required in order to be protected, but may be beneficial; it can be difficult to establish legal claims, if needed, without it. Copyright is in effect for the length of the creator's/author's life plus 70 years in most cases (see US Copyright Law for exceptions). After a copyright has expired the material is considered to be in the "public domain" and no longer under protection in terms of royalties or licenses. However, attribution/citation requirements still apply. Attribution is referring and giving credit to a particular author, artist, etc. Citation is referring and giving giving credit to a published or unpublished source. Both refer to giving credit to others' ideas, and it's the right thing to do if not in fact, legally required.

        When you purchase or otherwise obtain copyrighted material (such as a book or recording) you may use it for your personal enjoyment and growth. You cannot copy (by any process), cut, save, print, or photocopy/reproduce it, and/or reuse or market it for profit, or under any circumstances claim or imply it to be your own work or creation. The concise limits are summarized as: it may not be republished, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed by any means. Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism and a prosecutable offense under US Federal law. And, in this day and age of e-readers, tablets, etc., it's important to note that even if you have purchased a hard-cover book, it is still illegal to scan it for use electronically. That falls under "copying, by any process", "reproducing" - take your pick - even if you are the only one that will be using the digital files.

        Information that is used verbatim must be quoted and cited. This applies not only to "hard copy print" media, but also to the web, where it is so easy to "right click and save", leading to the thought that it's now yours. It's not. Using the web is no different than using any other reference media, and web content is protected under copyright laws just as anything. Links to specific web pages on another server should be clearly indicated that they lead to another website (just like you would direct someone to another book in the library), otherwise is can be tantamount to theft of content (note that this is different from simply linking in general to other websites). Using someone else's work without permission even if the source is cited, depending on content and law, may still be illegal. As stated by the US Copyright Office on its website,  "Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission." As the US Copyright Office advises, if you take the time and effort to request permission, one can rarely go wrong.

        Reusing copyrighted material for other than personal use usually requires permission, royalties and/or licenses. Copying and using the materials beyond personal use may (and usually does) require direct permission from the publisher or originator. When it is granted, you include on your copies and use of the materials a statement to the effect of  "such and such used with permission of the author", or equivalent. Some expanded copyright statements outright prohibit any further use of the material. On the other hand, authors may include a disclaimer on their work that reuse for non-profit purposes is permitted. This happens often with matters of information for the public good, education or other some such worthy cause. Failure to follow copyright direction can result in legal penalties.

        Copyrighted information being used on a limited bases for non-profit education is generally considered "fair use" - for example, a page or a section of a page of a book may be given has a handout in a non-profit teaching situation, providing the source of the information is acknowledged.

        Further confusing intellectual property issues is what falls under copyright protection versus patent or trademark protection. See the U.S. Copyright Office and the US Patent and Trademark Office website for further definitions of intellectual property and the clarifications of which protection applies to what type of intellectual property. It is however, important to remember that in virtually all circumstances one of these protections will usually be in force and applicable.

        Legalities not withstanding, there are also moral and ethical standards to be considered, as well as simple downright common courtesy. We all remember writing reports and papers in school, learning to use foot notes, quotes and bibliographies. That was teaching us not only the legal requirements, but the ethical ones of mutual respect, as well. All of that still holds today even if the web has made the trip to the library obsolete. It is universally accepted within honor, courtesy and protocol that when using previously published materials and others' creative contributions (such as in a book, on a website, within created materials, etc., that there be acknowledgment by attribution or citation to the originator.  Information published on the web is a very confusing and vulnerable issue, since the information is seems to be "free for the taking". Just because it can be found and easily copied, pasted and saved doesn't make it legal or correct to do so.

        TemariKai.com has grown to what it is today because of the community of web readers and discussion group members that so willingly share and contribute to it. This community has been nurtured since 1998 in a spirit of sharing, good will, trust, and mutual respect based on a love of, and passion for, the art and craft of Japanese Temari. You may download and print one copy of any page for personal use and enjoyment. Please honor this community and its future by asking permission from the authors and contributors before you take material to reuse for any other reason, or for profit, and please give proper attribution/citation as appropriate. If you need help to request use of material from Temarikai please feel free to email for help. We thank you.
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