What is copyright? It is a law that protects your work -- be it painting, photograph or a poem. It safeguards the things that you have created against the people who might copy them without your permission. Essentially, it gives you the title as the owner of your creations allowing you to enjoy these rights:
- Distribute copies or reproduce them
- Display them publicly
If you do find something interesting on the web and you want to "copy" it, you must consider these things:
- Use (not copy) materials that are in public domain only. You can freely use any kind of work found in the public domain. This will include federal government documents.
- Quote a statement that you may find interesting. It is acceptable to include a short quotation of a particular material. However, the law only accepts a small portion of a certain material to be included in your work.
- Utilize creations that are not copyrighted. There are materials that are not subject to copyright that you can freely use in your own material. These will include short phrases, quotes, titles, slogans, etc.
There are other things that you must bear in mind if you want to avoid being charged of plagiarism or the act of copying the work of others without their permission. Even crediting the author does not give you the right to copy his/her material. You must explicitly ask his/her permission before you can include his/her works to your own material.
What is copyright if it does not show any copyright protection notice? According to the current law, every published work is covered by copyright law, whether the protection is expressed or not.
Photo source: howto.gov