skip to content
logo picture logo text

Yes, my work (Computers Country Style) is under copyright. Although the purpose of this website is to help folks learn, it is NOT intended to be a free source of content for someone else's website. Please contact me if you have a question.

General Information

Just because it is on the internet does not mean it is free to copy

People can be confused about what is and what is not acceptable when it come to copying work done by someone else. Some people don't know or don't understand the differences between copyright, creative commons license and/or public domain. Some people simply don't care. This is a little summary of the information from the resources listed at the end of this article.

Copyright on the Web:

Copyright on the web seems to be a difficult concept for some people to understand. But it's really simple: If you did not write or create the article, graphic, or data that you found, then you need permission from the owner before you can copy it. Remember, when you use someone's graphic, HTML, or text without permission, you are stealing, and they can take action against you.


Basically, whoever created the item has the copyright at the time of creation. They don't need to have a copyright notice on their work for it to be under copyright if it was created after 1977. Copyright means that the creator, or owner of the copyright, is the person who can decide how and when the work is used.

Public Domain:

Items that are in the public domain may be copied and used at will. However, if the work was published after 1977 and the owner of the copyright does not state that it is in the Public Domain, then it is not. People can give up the copyright to certain pieces of their work by specifically stating they are putting those certain pieces into the Public Domain.

Cordell University lists what was in the public domain in the U.S. as of 1 January 2009 and gives explanations of which works require a notice and which do not: Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States

Creative Commons Licenses:

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization which

defines the spectrum of possibilities between full copyright and the public domain. From all rights reserved to no rights reserved. Our licenses help you keep your copyright while allowing certain uses of your work — a “some rights reserved” copyright.

So, these licenses come with different restrictions. The web site author who has opted to release his/her work under one of the Creative Commons Licenses will generally state what is required and have a link to the license he/she is using.

  1. Six main types of licenses: 
  2. There are also special creative common licenses for software.

Resources for More Information:

  1. 5 Types of Infringement Made Commonplace by the Web
  2. Overview of Website Copyright Law:
  3. The wrongs of copyright: Published in Issues, volume 95, September 2011, pp. 33-36
  4. Copyright on the Web: Being on the web doesn't make it Public Domain — Protect your rights
  5. 10 Big Myths about copyright explained:
  6. Avoiding Copyright Infringement - Keeping Your Artwork Legal:
  7. U. S. Copyright Office - Law and Policy:
  8. U. S. Copyright Office - More Information on Fair Use:

Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use and identifies certain types of uses—such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research—as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use.

... Courts evaluate fair use claims on a case-by-case basis, and the outcome of any given case depends on a fact-specific inquiry. This means that there is no formula to ensure that a predetermined percentage or amount of a work—or specific number of words, lines, pages, copies—may be used without permission.

Source: U. S. Copyright Office - More Information on Fair Use: