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According to copyright law, any original content you create and record in a lasting form is your own intellectual property

As you write blog posts, you may find that you want to include images you find online. Or maybe you found a great piece of writing—a recipe, a story, or a review—that you want to highlight on your own blog. It's important to know that almost all of the content you find on the Web belongs to someone. Just because you can take images, text, and more from other sites doesn't mean it is right to do so—ethically or legally.

Understanding Copyright

Copyright is the legal concept that works, art, writing, images, music, and more belongs to the people who create them. According to copyright law, any original content you create and record in a lasting form is your own intellectual property. This means other people can't legally copy your work and pretend it's their own. They can't make money from the things you create either.
To use, copy, or change a copyrighted work, you need permission from the person who holds the copyright. This permission is called a license. Even though everyone has the right to require that others respect their copyright and ask permission to use their work, some people and organizations choose to license their content more freely. They do this by giving their work a Creative Commons license or by placing their work in the Public Domain.
Review the infographic to get an overview of the differences between traditional copyright, Creative Commons, and Public Domain.

Using Public Domain and Creative Commons content

If you don't want to spend money on the images and content you use for your blog, you may want to use Public Domain and Creative Commons-licensed content.

Using Public Domain content

There are no restrictions on using works that are in the Public Domain, which means you can use them however you want except for claiming you created them. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to tell whether or not something is in the Public Domain.

Using Creative Commons content

Although Creative Commons content won't cost you any money to use, it's not totally free; to use it, you must follow certain rules. People who choose to make their content Creative Commons can choose one or more of these licenses to apply to their work:
  • Attribution: You must credit the creator in order to use, copy, or share the content.
  • Non Commercial: You can't make a profit from the content.
  • No Derivative Works: You can't change the content.
  • Share Alike: You can change the content, but you have to let other people use your new work with the same license as the original. In other words, you can't treat any Share Alike work you adapt as your own copyright, even if you radically change it.


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