I avoided putting up a page like this for a while. It sounds so “legalese”-y, and after all, who would really misuse content from my little old Rome blog?
Then I saw that a popular website, www.travelonion.com, was “scraping” all of my content, along with that of other travel bloggers worldwide, and putting it on their site without my permission.
That matter (regarding my blog, at least) has now been resolved. But it brought a very, very popular misconception about the web to my attention: the idea that because something’s online, it’s “public domain” and free for the taking. Definitely not the case.
In fact, “public domain” — meaning content without a copyright, that anyone is free to use — applies only in several highly-specific cases, including to scientific principles, laws, work published in the U.S. before 1923, some works published in the U.S. between 1923 and 1978, and any work published after 1989 from seventy years after the author dies. (For more information on what constitutes public domain, check out the University of California’s copyright explainer).
That means that all other content, including on the web, is automatically copyrighted. That’s true even if there’s no copyright symbol; even if it’s not registered with the copyright office; even if you link back to the original website on your own version of the content; and even if it’s free.
Ignore this law, and — depending on how the website’s owner feels that day — you risk some not-so-hot responses. In my own case, this will be a (polite, but, you know, firm!) request to remove the material, or a DMCA takedown notice. If that’s ignored for longer than 48 hours, I will report the copyright violation to your web hosting company; report the violation to your internet service provider; and report the violation to search engines like Google.Once these companies know that you are stealing content, they are legally obliged to deal with the violation — if it’s certified as a violation, that means they’ll have to blacklist you from their services. I may also report the violation to your ad services, including AdSense and private advertisers.
So, ouch. When in doubt, just ask my permission first!
By accessing this website, you agree that:
All written material on this website is owned by Revealed Rome. All photographs also are owned by Revealed Rome, with the exception of those few that are credited to art museums or online art databases; those photographs are considered part of public domain, as they are exact reproductions of pieces done before the 20th century, and neither I nor their publishers have copyright over them.
You can use my written work only (not photographs), under the following conditions:
-You must attribute the content with a link back to the blog post’s specific web page. This link should be displayed prominently.
-Under no circumstances can you reproduce a whole blog post; instead, you only can use excerpts of 150 words or less. Again, this must be attributed with the use of a clear link.
-The post cannot be used for any commercial or marketing purposes without my express permission.
-If you are interested in using an entire blog post or using an excerpt for commercial purposes, please feel free to email me. (I promise I won’t bite).
Furthermore, by accessing this web site, you indemnify/exclude Revealed Rome and myself from any responsibility for any loss, damage or liability arising from use of the information found on this website or by accessing other websites through links found here.
Any questions? Please get in touch. And happy (legal) browsing!