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Copyright © by David Ross
I reserve all publication rights to any Web page or portion of a Web page (including tables) marked with the © symbol as copyrighted by David E. Ross. Republication or performance — electronically, in hardcopy format, or orally — is prohibited without my express written permission.
This notice applies to all photographs — including photos I have placed at Flickr — but does not apply to any other graphic unless a separate copyright notice specific to that graphic appears on the Web page displaying it. In some cases, the separate notice is embedded in the graphic and appears when a cursor is placed over the graphic.
A table is not a graphic. The contents and format of a table appearing in any of my pages is covered by this copyright notice unless an explicit statement to the contrary appears for a specific table.
This notice does not apply to any quoted material attributed to someone else. However, such material might have a copyright owned by that other person or by another party.
I will not consider any request to copy or republish the HTML of any Web page. I might consider a request to copy the contents of a Web page to another non-commercial Web page providing the other Web page contains an appropriate statement attributing the source to me. For commercial Web pages, I will consider such requests only if my granting authorization to copy the contents of a Web page involves an appropriate payment to me in an amount to be negotiated. In general, however, I will only consider requests to print, display, recite, or capture the image of a page as it would appear in a Web browser window when obtained directly from my Web site; again, I will grant such requests only if proper attribution is made or if my copyright notice appears in the image.
I hereby grant permission to anyone to link to any of my Web pages via HTML from another Web page. However, if the referring Web page is a frame, the link must display my copyrighted page in a separate browser window and not within the frame (e.g.: via
TARGET=”_blank” in the anchor). In any case, the entire page — including my copyright notice — must appear without truncation or alteration when any link causes one of my copyrighted Web pages to appear in a browser window. Without alteration includes not adding any banner, launching any popup or popunder, inserting any graphic, altering any link, or substituting any style sheet.
In the paragraph above, I make a commitment: Anyone may link to any of my Web pages. Anyone needing a PGP-authenticated statement of my commitment (e.g., for a skeptical ISP) should send me an E-mail message indicating a preference for RSA or DSS/DH keys. I will reply with a digitally signed copy of the above paragraph, using one of my PGP keys.
- I do prefer that other Web pages link to mine rather than copy my text. This way, as I update my pages, the latest version remains available via the link.
- However, I sometimes delete a Web page when its content or subject matter become obsolete. I cannot be held responsible for broken links resulting from deleted pages. I do archive many of my deleted pages indefinitely.
- On occasion, I restructure my Web site, moving selected pages from one directory within my domain to another. When I do this, I usually leave a truncated page at the old location for about two months, with a warning that the page has moved and that viewers should update their bookmarks and links. Again, I cannot be held responsible for broken links resulting from moved pages.
Why Copyright My Pages?
I thought my Web pages had scant commercial value. Why would anyone pay for a copy of one of my pages when it can be seen for free through the Internet? However, I discovered that indeed at least one of my pages was copied more than once for commercial purposes. So far, I have been successful in stopping violations of my copyright without taking legal action. If I were ever unsuccessful, I would not hesitate to seek compensatory damages equal to whatever fees the violator received, plus possibly punitive damages. I definitely do not want someone else profiting from my effort without them also paying me.
Money is not the only reason to claim a copyright. These Web pages are the product of my mind. As such, I want to control their dissemination and use. I want to prevent someone else from twisting my words in a way that changes my meaning. And I certainly want to prevent someone else from republishing my ideas and claiming authorship. This kind of control falls within the protections given by a copyright.
In addition, I put much effort into formatting my Web pages (in part, to ensure they are indeed viewable by any browser). I update some of my pages rather frequently. I research the subjects addressed by my pages and include links to other Web pages relating to those subjects (including some very authoritative sources). Whenever I modify a page, I then verify that any links are still valid. I do not want my formatting lost, my recent changes ignored, or my efforts contaminated with stale links. A copyright gives me control to prevent such corruption.
Yes, I do receive requests to republish some of my pages. I have agreed to every request (more than one) that meets the requirements described on this page. And, no, I have never been paid by anyone receiving permission to republish these pages. (Money would be nice. Nicer yet is preserving the integrity of what I have written.)
Why Authenticate This Copyright Notice?
While I obviously support the protection of intellectual products through the use of copyrights, I think some commercial interests have gone overboard in the protections they claim. In particular, a federal judge ordered 2600 Magazine (a Webzine) to remove links to another Web site because that other site contained a download link for software that might violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act — not for hosting the software (which was hosted elsewhere) but merely for having a link to it. In another case, EBay blocked another Web site from having links to pages internal to the EBay site.
Because of these legal cases, some ISPs have become wary regarding Web sites they host. If such a site contains a link to a copyrighted Web page, an ISP may require its customer to obtain a license from the owner of the linked page. My own position is that, if I can add a link to a Web page to my bookmarks file, then I can cite that link in any of my Web pages. My ISP (ISWest) has never expressed any concern with my position. However, if your ISP wants proof that I granted you permission to link to my Web pages, you can not only show your ISP this notice but also authenticate it through an E-mail message bearing my PGP signature.
Enforcing My Copyright
I put much time, research, thought, and effort into creating these Web pages. Unlike some others with personal Web sites, I have no advertising. I make no money from what I have created here. So when I find that someone has stolen my work — plagiarism is indeed theft — for commercial use, I feel abused and frustrated.
- 2005: I found six commercial Web sites that violated the copyright on one of my Web pages. I succeeded in having all infringing material removed or having the entire Web pages deleted.
- 2006: I found 11 commercial Web sites that violated my copyright. In nine cases, the infringing material was removed or the entire Web page was deleted when I informed the page’s owner of the copyright violation. In the remaining two cases, the pages’ owners ignored my communication. One Web site was then blocked by its Web hosting service after I lodged a complaint of copyright violation with that service. The other site remained an open issue into 2007.
- 2007: I found three commercial Web sites that violated the copyright on one of my Web pages. One of those violations was by a real estate agent working in the same agency as the agent whose site remained the open issue from 2006. I notified the manager of that real estate agency. Another was by a real estate agent who is a long-time acquaintance; she was livid over the fact that she paid good money for what she thought was original content. In this latter case, not only was I successful in having the page deleted; but my acquaintance ended her contract with the Web developer.
- 2008: I found a commercial Web site — again, owned by a real estate agent — that violated the copyright on one of my Web pages. This was a complete copy of the text on my Oak Park page, including references to my daughter. The real estate agent claimed to have hired a high school student to create the page for her. She deleted the page when I brought the violation to her attention.
- 2009: I found another commercial Web site — again, owned by a real estate agent — that violated the copyright on my Oak Park page. Upon receiving my “cease and desist” letter, the site’s owner quickly changed the content to eliminate the violation. This was the third time I found a violation hosted by Dominion Enterprises or its subsidiary Advanced Access. Not only do these firms host the Web sites, but they also develop them. I am keeping a log of copyright violations and can readily establish a pattern of repeated violations by those firms.
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I am the unpaid Webmaster for a small charity whose Web pages are also copyrighted. In 2006, I detected three other charities had violated those copyrights. One charity had copied three of “my” charity’s pages, changing only the name of the organization. I was successful in stopping all of these violations.
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When I find a violation, I send a “cease and desist” letter (postal mail) to the owner of the Web site domain and a complaint via E-mail to the site’s hosting service.
One recipient of my “cease and desist” letter responded in anger because I had the nerve to be so formal and strong in my objections to his theft. I’m the one who should be angry that my hard work generated income for him but not one cent for me. No, I will not make public the name of this person. He did remove the plagiarism from his three Web sites. If he violates my copyright again, however, I will not bother with a “cease and desist” letter; instead, I will immediately refer the situation to an attorney.
I really do not understand why real estate agents in particular plagiarize my Oak Park Web page (all but one of the violations over the years). Yes, I’m somewhat flattered by the fact that they find the information well-written. However, they would be better served by merely linking to that page. Then, they would receive the advantage of any updates I make to it. Furthermore, there is no copyright involved in having such a link.
Warning: If necessary to protect my copyrights, I may indeed file lawsuits. If successful, I will request damages in the amount not only sufficient to cover my legal costs but also to recover whatever fees or other payments were received by whoever violated my copyrights.
Updated 1 June 2009
This page is copyrighted © 2003-2009 by David E. Ross