Meet The Blogger: Copyright and Copycats

Meet the Blogger. A blogger conference for inspiration and education. I was asked to give a presentation about copyright and copycats. On how to protect work. There are lots of bloggers that contact me about there content being used by other bloggers or on social media. Usually the ‘other bloggers’ have a new blog and hope to earn money with the blog sometime. They don’t know yet, how to create great content of they don’t have the time to do so. And that’s why they use the work of others. With this thought in mind I created the content for my presentation.

Copyright Topics

My gosh, how naive! This wasn’t the real situation. Loads of bloggers, apparently, use work of others. Usually not knowing they are nog allowed to do so.
In my presentation I tried to address the basics of copyright law:
– work
– author
– moral rights: credits
– exclusive exploitation rights: publish & copy
– license agreements
– quotation
– public domain
– creative commons
– protect work & prevent infringement
– copycats
– social media


Like to scroll through the slides again?


The fun thing about presentations? It’s the improvising and the questions afterwards.

You have the power over your work

It was my one-liner to explain the exclusive exploitation rights of the copyright holder. Besides some exceptions, the rightsholder is the one that is allowed to decide what happens with the work. Where, how and when it gets published and if other peopler are allowed to copy or edit the work.

Style is not protected

Nope, copyright doesn’t protect style. Loads of designers, makers and authors would love to see style protected. They mistake a work with the same style a lot for a copyright protected work.
For example: Blond Amsterdam. They paint nice cartoony people on tableware. It’s girly. Lots of pink. That doesn’t forbid others to paint tableware with cartoony people. As long as it is different enough and people can’t mistake it for the other work.

Create your own content

Why worry about the use of other peoples work. Do you have to ask permission or can you use it as a quote? How to get a good license agreement? You won’t have those problems when you create your own content! Most heard argument: “but it takes time to ask permission”. Yes. So? Because it takes some effort, you should be able to use the work without permission and for free?

If you copy something, do it from the Dutch

Okay, you shouldn’t use work of others when you are not allowed to. But I was explaining that a lot of rules are internationally the same, but not all. Especially the compensation for damages differs between countries. In the Netherlands, only the actual damages will be financially compensates while, for instance in the U.S., they have so called punitive damages to make sure someone won’t do it again. So stealing from the Dutch, just is the cheapest way to steal work. When you gat caught, at least.

Copyright protection

One of the topics I talked about was copyright protection. Lots of people don’t even know how copyright works and that most works are copyright protected. Awareness is important.
A copyright notice or disclaimer on your website could be a good idea. But it is important that such a statement, actually state the truth.
Someone asked me what she should put up her website for awareness. Well, that might depend on your website. Do you only use your own work and work from others with the correct license?
Then something like this should be good: “[blog name] owns the copyright or a valid license for all the texts and images on this website”
Or a more general statement: “All images on this website are copyright protected.”

Another tip is to fill out the exif info of your photos. Put your name and the name of your blog in there. When people use your photo, it is easier to find it back. People usually don’t change the exif photo when they ‘borrow’ a work.

More about copyright

Want to read more? Meet the Blogger had a live blog today. You can read about my presentation right there.

Also read sheet 34 from Kirsten Jassies presentation on using visual content.

Are you Dutch? I have written a lot of blogposts about copyright law (in the Netherlands). The most important ones I put in a list, but you can find them all under the auteursrecht catagory.
For all international readers: I wrote a series about international copyright law on Pepita Bos’s website.
Lots of people came to me after the presentation with questions that I couldn’t answer in the presentation. Like portrait rights, trademark law and even ‘handelsnaamrecht’.
That’s why I came up with a workshop for bloggers! When at least 6 of you are interested, I could host the workshop at my office in The Hague. For bigger groups, I’d also like to come over to another city so it will be easier for all of you to attend.
Please let me now if you would be interested. In the comments below, via twitter or facebook or any other way you like to contact me.

Do you have any questions? Don’t hesitate to ask!


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