Bradbury's Bother: How to Protect Knowledge Online
The well-known 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451 tells a story about how television, and assumedly all technology, destroys interest in reading books. Author Ray Bradbury created a society where literature was dangerous, thus burned, and knowledge was based on partial information, devoid of context. Protagonist Guy Montag is trapped in an internal conflict, working as a fireman who burns books but becomes intrigued by them and soon believes that they are the only hope to save society.
Bradbury consistently asserted that mass media would lead to an alienated society devoid of knowledge, creativity, intellect and relationships. With the invention of cell phones, the Internet and mp3s, his point is clear. The Internet allows a person to work and socialize without human interaction. IPods allow people to tune out the world around them. Technology certainly is dangerous, but it is a daily part of most Americans’ lives.
Using technology is less than an afterthought, but putting yourself out there or interacting with another person’s content opens the door to legal risks. Anyone who has ever used the Internet knows how easy it is to copy, modify and share information, whether it is in text, image, audio or video form. Here’s a general rundown of issues that stem from sharing content on the web and how you can protect yourself from legal trouble:
What you can copy:
What you can’t copy:
People copy images and text from the Internet everyday, thinking that anything they find on the information superhighway is free. Some people know that doing so is wrong, but think that it is highly unlikely that they will incur any trouble, and at most will be notified to remove the content from their account on a website or blog. However, removing copyrighted material does not remove the copyright infringement, a.k.a. the author of the content may still have a legal case against them.
Thanks to copyright law, all creativity, knowledge, and intellect is not lost, but rather protected.