A Quick Review of Copyright

The other day I discovered a site hosting a modified version of my backmasking page. The version this site was hosting looked almost exactly like the version I had created except the links back to my website had been removed.

This morning I sent an email to the contact address listed asking them politely to remove it from their site. I haven’t heard back from them yet.

Shortly after I read the site’s own copyright notice:

Do not take [website name removed].com’s link out of any code found on [website name removed].com, if you do so you are breaking the law.

An interestingly strong position to take, considering that’s exactly what they did to me.

I also found it interesting that the site was using services from gocopyright.com. A site that claims for $59 they will register your online works with the United States Copyright Office.

(I am not a lawyer, so don’t take anything I say here as legal advice.)

If you’re worried about preserving your rights, you might be interested to know that copyright laws in Canada and the United States as they are now do not require the rights holder to register his or her works in order to hold the copyright. All you have to do is create a work, and presto—you own the copyright and you still have your $59!

As far as I can tell, the $59 is a waste of money for a service that claims, “Your copyright must be registered in order to take legal action against an act of infringement.” Though I am not a lawyer, I’d say this is not true. If you own the copyright, it stands to reason that you can take legal action regardless of registration.*

Independent of these issues, I’d caution anyone about using their service after reading their disclaimer that,

“You expressly agree to use this site at your own risk. The website content, forms, and material on our website are provided “as is”, without warranties of any kind either express or implied with regard to their legal effectiveness, adequacy, suitability or completeness.”

It sounds like they know it’s a superfluous service and don’t want to be caught without a legal leg to stand on, so they wrote one in.

As far as people out there copying my backmasking site goes, I prefer that they just paste a link to the site instead. Here’s an example of the code you could use:

<a href="http://jeffmilner.com/backmasking/>Jeff Milner's Backmasking Site</a>

*I suppose it should be noted that registration could be used as evidence that you are the original creator of the work, but it’s not the only way you could provide evidence.

Update: The website proprietor said he would take down the copied files, but had quite the gem of an explanation as to why he felt entitled to remove the links back to my site:

“Sorry about that, I will remove your content from my site as soon as possible. Note that it is not in my best interest to direct links to other sites unless you pay for advertising which I’m sure you won’t like to do.

Regards.”

Wow.

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