Copyright (and the DMCA) for Community Professionals

Jonathan BaileyCopyright can seem like a big, intimidating topic. But it’s one of the most important areas of law for the online community builder, because we are constantly working with content. Sometimes our own, but mostly the content of others.

This episode is all about helping you to understand how copyright impacts your work. My guest is Jonathan Bailey, a copyright consultant at CopyByte and the author of Plagiarism Today, a respected publication on matters of copyright and intellectual property. Plus:

  • How the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) works
  • The copyright ramifications of animated GIFs
  • Who owns the content posted on your community

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If you enjoy our show, please know that it’s only possible with the generous support of our sponsor: Emoderation.

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Big Quotes

“The DMCA provides safe harbor, but it isn’t a license to be negligent. You can still get in trouble if you simply turn a blind eye to known infringement, or especially if you commit the infringement yourself as a member of the community.” -@patrickokeefe

“The DMCA does not punish you for being proactive. It doesn’t necessarily reward you, unfortunately, but it will not punish you. In fact, it has a very rarely used thing called ‘red flags,’ where if you should be or were aware of an infringement, a very specific infringement, and did not take action, then you can still be held accountable.” -@plagiarismtoday

“People treat Google image search like those old clipart CDs, and that’s not how it’s supposed to be used, obviously.” -@plagiarismtoday

“The thing about GIFs, especially of TV shows and movies, is that they take such a small portion of the original material. If it’s a few-second loop, in most cases, I would say the GIF is a fair use.” -@plagiarismtoday

“If you use Facebook Groups, Facebook is going to be where the DMCA notice is sent, not you. And that’s actually kind of unfortunate for you because that means you don’t have, as the administrator, the opportunity to resolve it. You can’t step in, take action and do what you think is best; you just have to roll the dice and hope Facebook comes up with a good answer.” -@plagiarismtoday

“I don’t expect community managers to get fair use right. There’s no way to; it’s impossible. But to be thinking about it and considering it, and, I would argue, weighing on the side of caution typically, you can do a great deal.” -@plagiarismtoday

About Jonathan Bailey

Jonathan Bailey is the webmaster and author of Plagiarism Today and works as a copyright and plagiarism consultant at CopyByte. Though not an attorney, he has resolved hundreds of cases of plagiarism involving his own work and has helped countless others protect their work and develop strategies for protecting their content and avoiding infringement.

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