To work in Hong Kong today and putting images on the web, we can avoid breaking the law and getting in trouble by doing followings:
Firstly, according to Foust, ”as an online journalist, you should generally assume that anything you encounter on the Internet is copyrighted, unless it is expressly offered for public domain use.” We should get the permission form the copyright holder first before we put or copy others’ image onto our own websites. For example, if you take a photo from your interviewer, you should ask her permission for publishing her photo and exposing her nick name or full name. If you are not sure you can use something, and then do not use it.
Second, if you want to use the article, the concept of fair use allows you to use part of a copyrighted work in certain situations. Referring to Foust, fair use is designed to “allow criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching and research involving copyrighted work.”So, as an online journalist, we often excerpt copyrighted material, like video clips, images, journals, etc., and then you should know very well about the concept of fair use. Fair use can protect you from many copyright disputes.
After all, we should attribute our sources so that the readers know where it came from.
But, you should be very careful that others will copy the image on your websites for illegal and commercial use. It’s difficult for you to keep “all right reserved” to your work. It is simply because the copy and paste is so common and easy via Internet. Piracy is common and seems to be more rampant.
Under these circumstances, do we have the third way for protection of our copyright?Yes, Creative Commons. It shifts the focus of “all right reserved” to “some right reserved”. Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization that has released a series of copyright licenses that allow you to say how you want your work – your articles, photos, music and so on – to be used by other people. There are four type of license including Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivative Works and Share Alike.
Simply by adding a button , you can choose the type of license onto your website.
I think the CC license approach is better than the traditional approach in terms of knowledge accumulation, flow and recreation.The traditional approach to copyright focuses on “all right reserved” and fight against the piracy by enhancing laws. It results two extremes: the strict control over knowledge sharing and flow and the expanding of piracy.
Lawrence Lessig (Here is the blog of Lessig), the creator of the CC, mentioned “the file-sharing provide access to content this is technically still under copyright but no longer commercially available”. CC authorizes the public for free use of the online material under specific conditions so that it enables the freedom re-creation. It can stimulate great potential of creativity. For example, readers can remix the images on the web for their own non-commercial production.
“And the P2P networks enable the sharing of content the copyright owners want shared, as well as work already in the public domain.”Currently, more than millions of entrepreneurs, artists apply CC license. These both bring the benefits to authors and society.
As what Heavens mentioned from personal side, if all your photos are attached to CC license, people will write for your permission for using your photos for specific use. Moreover, some of the contracts brought Heaven further paid work, and even make you a lot of friends from all around the work.
The CC also enables the creativity-continuity of photo which may by used by others in many other meaningful and creative ways. Especially for photographer journalists, they can maximize the use of their work by putting them online and license them.
Of course, while preserving the benefit, we should also consider how to minimize the harm it causes to artists. The CC is more flexible in current technology-oriented era.