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Copyrights cover the legal rights of people to control the use of their creative ideas.  In 1989, the US signed an international copyright treaty called the Berne Convention.  Nations that signed that treaty have agreed to follow each otherís copyright laws.

Copyrights are important to Web designers because pages posted on the Internet can be accessed all around the world.  The potential for copyright violations and infringements are huge.

Because the Internet represents new and emerging technologies, the ways that copyright laws are applied is evolving.  Try to avoid being the subject of a test case.

While law does provide for ďfair useĒ of copyrighted material, posting otherís work on your web page is not likely to be considered fair use.  Unless a site has password protection, it is potentially available to anyone in the world.  This can significantly affect the potential market for the original work regardless of how the use was intended.

While it is unlikely that copyright violations will be prosecuted criminally, they can and frequently are matters of civil litigation.   Legal problems are easier to avoid than to straighten out Ė when in doubt, donít use material that may create problems.

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Copyright Notices
Fair Use
Fair Use Guidelines
Obtaining Permission
Distant Education
Issues on the Web

 

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