We cover copyright in detail on our proofreading courses, as proofreaders have a responsibility to warn clients about potential problems.
Copyright breaches can be expensive, as this post by our principal Cleland Thom on the Online Journalism Blog makes clear.
Our online proofreading course warns that when you use someone else’s content, it may not be enough to just give them a credit. They might also want payment. So you should always get the copyright owner’s consent before republishing anything. The myth that ‘a credit covers everything’ is dangerous and unreliable.
We also stress the importance of taking great care with pictures – a copyright breach could cost you thousands of pounds.
How can your clients protect their own copyright?
We tell our proofreading and editing course learners to take care, even if they are fairly relaxed about people using extracts of their website content.
The internet is a lawless place. People will steal your content, and won’t give you a credit. So it’s best to have a strict copyright notice, and invite people to email you if they want to use something.
This gives you the chance to dictate the terms and conditions, according to who asks, and what they want to use it for.
Operating this way also protects you if you need to challenge misuse. If you operate a ‘help yourself’ policy, it’s harder to challenge people who rip you off.
Also, if you don’t assert your copyright, people may claim that you gave ‘implied consent’.
It’s best to have a strict policy, and then take a relaxed approach when asked, than the other way round.
One proofreading course learner was thinking of posting this notice on her site: “You are welcome to use any of the information on this website. All we ask is that you give us credit or link to our website.”
However, this statement gave people the right to help themselves to her work and sell it. We suggested she added the words ‘… for non-commercial purposes’ to the end of the first sentence.
See our proofreading courses