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What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
SEO is improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site or page from the search engines using natural organic and algorithmic search results (SERPs).

SEO is actually a component of SEM (Search Engine Marketing). Which encompasses many avenues with which to promote a web site or page.
If you have come here looking for SEO help, you have found a blog that can help you. There is much information here to be held and please feel free to comment anytime...Even with a question.

July 5, 2007

Legal Issues and Their Solutions for Webmasters


There are some legal issues you are going to come across in web design and development that every webmaster should have some basic knowledge of. Today I am going to touch on the most common and important legal problems facing webmasters today. I am no lawyer and practice common sense and vast research in this area myself so if you are confused or still seeking answers to a legal problem concerning your website, then I advise you seek legal counsel from a lawyer who is knowledgeable of the Internet and its rules.

Copyright Issues

Copyright is a set of exclusive rights regulating the use of a particular expression of an idea or information. At its most general, it is literally "the right to copy" an original creation. In most cases, these rights are of limited duration. The symbol for copyright is ©, and in some jurisdictions may alternatively be written as either (c) or (C).

A copyright is not necessarily always applied for, paid for, and granted by the Country's Copyright Administration Office. Here is the Wiki page for many other countries copyright facilities. The second an image or text document is save to a hard drive it is protected by copyright with or without seeking the copyright office's approval. It suggest you research your country's Copyright Office for certain and the others to be thorough.

Copyright for Images and Text

It has become very easy to "hijack" or steal images from web sites via image search on the Internet. As webmasters this affects you from both sides, you have need to protect your work sometimes, and its harder to attain images that are free to use without incurring cost and reciprocal link backs.

Here are some tips to attaining images for your websites:

  1. If you make your own images, "totally" new and not derivative image watermark it and post the correct licensing information for it from Creative Commons.
  2. If you are starting with someone else's image or text that is a derivative work and must be allowed in the authors terms, then in turn you must execute the derivative license terms which includes crediting them also.
  3. When using images and text from someone else's site, read their terms fully, in most cases commercial reproduction is not included in "fair use". You are commercial even if the web site is yours and you have 1 ad for profit! News sources very often do not allow reproduction of their text/images without payment, and then it is for a specific period of time. If the web site you get text/images from has violated copyright and you use the material, you can also get in trouble.
  4. Clip Art and graphics from purchased libraries are legal to use because they are licensed to you, as long as you acquired them legally and it is not expressly disallowed in the software/library agreement.
  5. Some text, news especially, can be reproduced under "fair use" without express permission...but the guidelines are stringent. This is the most well written guide I have found. It is far safer to contact the news agency and set up an account.
  6. HTML, Java, Active X, Flash, Ajax, and any other code or text you can think of is also protected....do not kid yourself. If you steal code to template someone else web site you are violating copyright, unless they expressly share it.

Trademarks

It is not necessary to actually apply for a trademark to use the "™ " , however you may only use the "®" once you have applied and have your approval letter in hand.

What is a trademark?
A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. In short, a trademark is a brand name. A Service Mark is the same thing only for services.

I suggest you begin here at the US Patent Office Web Site FAQ.

  1. There is nothing wrong with using another company's logo for example to link to them or describe a product of their that you sell, unless they forbid it. It is however a violation to reproduce such thing in defamation purposes.
  2. When you are naming things like, domains and services...you should Google Search, Yahoo Search, and do the search at the patent office for use of ANY of the terms in your new name before you use it. Then register it, if you want to keep it.
  3. Creating domain names with the same text, but different TLD is generally a Trademark infringement. You can be in a mess in a few year when you are forced to give up all your hard work to your competitor.
  4. If someone has your company/brand name you can try to retrieve it by using the ICANN Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy process. I recommend you register your aliases, like .net, .com, and .cc to avoid disputes from squatters in the future.
  5. Hotlinking to another web site's content even in an I Frame is copyright violation, as you are using a derivative work. No to mention its bandwidth theft.
  6. If you link to another's work/content and the anchor text or description describe it as your own you are violating copyright.
  7. Making your site, logo, images, or any other content appear to look like or be too similar to any other brand in order to "fool" users is copyright infringement and defamation.
  8. Displaying another web site inside your own web site's frame without permission can be a copyright violation, as it leads the common user to believe the content belongs to you.

This is just a quick stay out of trouble guide to get the brain juices flowing. I hope you have found it helpful. As always feel free to comment, and I will update if necessary.

Peace and SEO

Baby

SEOCog.com

4 Comments:

youtube said...

youtube

Jonathan Bailey said...

I just wanted to say thank you for the good level-headed discussion of copyright law. I don't have much to add to it, not within the scope of your post at least, but I wanted to thank you for presenting it to the Web.

I hope others will learn and grow from it.

Baby said...

youtube, probably was just checking the spam potential?

Baby said...

Thanks, Jonathon Baily. I appreciate the positive comment!