Confession: I would honestly claim copyright laws ignorance if I could but alas, as a blogger, ignorance of copyright would only just put me more in jeopardy of breaking them so I’ve been doing a little research and have been amazed at some of the things I found out.
For instance, did you know that there are copyright laws governing quotations from the Bible? Or that recipes generally are NOT copyrighted? And that Pinterest images really are not something you should be re-posting on your blog without the permission of the author? Yes, I’ve learned all this and more recently so I thought today I’d share 5 blogging copyright laws that you should know before you write your next post.
5 Copyright Laws Every Blogger Should Know
1. Can my website be protected by copyright?
Yes. You can copyright your blog by adding the © sign in your blog footer along with your start and end blogging dates and the statement “All Rights Reserved”. Without the copyright provided some readers will assume your content and/or images are free for the taking.
As another means of copyright safety, you can also create a digital fingerprint of your blog content by using a free service such as MyFreeCopyright to store a copy of your posts. They also occasionally scan the internet for possible content theft which is a handy little bonus for those interested in keeping your content from being plagerized.
Finally, if you are only interested in tracking potential plagiarism of a specific post, Plagium or CopyScape are two other free services worth having in your back pocket.
2. Are recipes copyrighted?
As a rule, recipes are NOT copyrighted and a list of ingredients alone is never copyrighted. Only recipes found in a large literary work or those with substantial directions may fall under copyright. Make your own directions and you are free to share tried and true recipes as you wish.
3. Can I quote the Bible freely?
No. With the exception of the American Standard Version, The King James Version, Young’s Literal Translation, and the Webster Bible which are all public domain, all translations have their own copyright. Some allow you to quote up to 250 without written permission. Others do not allow you to quote anything without written permission. And most all require that you provide some form of copyright information on your blog and/or printable. For example, you will notice copyright information for the ESV Bible that I quote from quite frequently here on Cornerstone Confessions in my blog’s footer. To learn more about the copyright expectations of a particular Bible I suggest looking the copyright information up on Bible Gateway or by doing a google search for your Bible version copyright.
4. When is it okay to share others’ images on my blog?
With the age of Pinterest and Linky parties this once clear copyright law has become somewhat blurred. As a rule, images on Pinterest and those added to linky parties are often considered free game as long as an attribution is shared (a link to the original location of the image–not the pin) and the author is credited. However, don’t let this assumption fool you because as Daniel Scocco shares on Daily Blog Tips, you are still liable for copyright infringement if the author has not given you direct permission. Pinterest is still fighting copyright battles left and right. Thus, it still recommended that you ask the author FIRST before including one of his/her copyrighted images in a post on your blog (yes, this includes Pinterest roundups).
Another way to ensure your copyright protection when hosting a link-up is to include a disclosure on your party rules that states something like “By linking up to Titus 2 Tuesday you are giving me permission to share your post and images therein on my social media networks and feature them on Cornerstone Confessions.”
If you are interested in knowing the proper way to share an image on your favorite social media networks, you may want to check out this post by Erin on Royalbaloo.
5. Can I play music in the background on my YouTube video or my blog?
Only if it is royalty free music. The use of all other music on YouTube is illegal without written permission of the artist and/or composer.
What are your tips concerning copyright laws?
I make no claims to be an expert on this subject, knowing full well the tips I’ve shared above just scratch the surface of all that’s involved. Thus, please share away and together we can learn from each other so as to grow in the areas in which God is using us for His glory.
Take it to the next level with these resources:
- Public Domain, Free Use, Creative Commons: What’s the Difference? on Homeschool Commons
- Stopping Internet Plagerism on Plagerism Today
- Honor Copyright Awareness Campaign on iHomeschool Network
- United States Copyright Office
- My Blogging Brilliance Pinterest board.