Sharing other people’s work is wonderful, but it’s also important to be mindful of doing so in a way that doesn’t infringe on copyrighted material, especially when publishing that work on the internet. We’re not experts in copyright law, but we want to share some links from the experts. We also feel you should know there are risks to posting copyrighted material without permission.
Below are some tips we found at the University of Maryland University College that will allow you to share work you love without fear of violating copyright laws:
- Always credit the source of your information.
- Find out if the author of a work provides information on how to use his or her work. If explicit guidelines exist, follow them.
- Ask the owner of the copyright for permission. Keep a copy of your request for permission and the permission received.
Stanford University Libraries has a great site on copyright and fair use, including the steps needed to request permission to reprint work. Their link is listed below along with other sites about copyright law. This site points out that all works published in the United States before 1923 are in the public domain. This means you don’t need to seek permission to use them. However, copyright laws on anything written after 1923 are varied and more complicated. It’s best to assume there is a copyright on the work and seek permission to use it.
Another way to avoid having to request permission is to link to the poem you want to share rather than posting it on your own site. Consider making your reaction to a poem the focus of your post, with a link to the poem at the end.
Or better still, share your own poetry! That way you don’t have to worry about copyright infringement, and you get to share your own writing. What could be better than that?
More on copyrights —
- Stanford Copyright & Fair Use
- Copyright Basics from the Library of Congress
- Copyright Crash Course
- University of Maryland University College Information and Library Services
Note: We’ve only discussed U.S. copyright law in this post. If you live outside the United States, we suggest you do some research to find out what the copyright laws are in your country and make sure you are following them.