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Thread: Copyright

  1. #1

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    Copyright

    I was listening to a conversation between two friends of mine about what is and is not considered copyright violation.

    One said that if he buys a music album, strips off each song and uploads them to, let's say, You Tube, for instance, that it is not a copyright violation to allow everyone to download these songs onto their IPad, PC or some other device for free. He continued on saying: However, if I sell these songs then yes it is a copyright violation.

    My question: Is this person right in both instances.


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  2. #2
    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: Copyright

    Both cases are considered copyright violations. It doesn't matter if you're making money or not; it's COPYright... not SELLright; you can make copies for your own personal use, that's it.

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    Re: Copyright

    People use all sorts of rationalizations, but wishing doesn't make it so. If this is a serious question consult a lawyer, but there is no way he or she is going to confirm this crazy notion.

    Of course some people will also make up rationalizations they don't believe themselves just to spread them to other people.

    It a trap!

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    Re: Copyright

    Just to be clear, copying doesn't break copyright (as TG put it: "you can make copies for your own personal use"), distribution breaks copyright. Whether that distribution is for profit or not is irrelevant. As soon as you allow anyone else to consume your copy you've broken copyright. This is why pubs have to spend a whole lot more than you do to have Sky Sports playing in the bar. They're considered a distributor.
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    Re: Copyright

    Yeah, music from unofficial channels on youtube are commiting copyright violations regardless of whether money is made or not. Essentially, you pay for a "license" to listen to the music but you do not own the right to the music or own the right to distribute it. Interesting how they put "no copyright intended" or "i do not own this music" as if that would keep the record company from sending a take-down if they really cared.

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    Re: Copyright

    Normally lawyers are needed to decide copyright, but this is pretty easily a case of copyright violation.

    "Copyright" is the "right to copy". By default, for all works, the author has copyright. Your code is copyright you the moment you write it. Sometimes contracts redirect this copyright. For example, my rights towards the code I write have been willingly transferred to my company. Artists usually yield copyright to their publishers, etc.

    In your case, it works like this:

    • When you buy an album, you are legally purchasing a copy that was legally made by a copyright holder.
    • When you rip them to mp3 for a personal collection, you are breaking copyright, but this is legally supported via fair use and has been upheld in (US) courts long ago in the cassette era.
    • When you upload a copy to YouTube, you make another copy. This is questionably fair use if you keep it private.
    • When you make the YouTube video public, you are acting as a distributor of copies and you have violated copyright.


    So why is it so easy to find music on YouTube? Money.

    YouTube has the Content ID system and it is effective at noticing when you upload copyrighted works. Part of that process involves copyright holders giving Content ID stuff it should recognize. They have 3 choices for what action ContentID will take:
    • Block the content entirely.
    • Mute/edit the video to exclude the copyrighted work.
    • Allow it, but place ads that send money to the copyright holder.

    A lot of people opt for "ads", because then people feel happy that they get to upload and the artist gets a check for fractions of a penny each month.

    But make no mistakes. If you make copies of an album and give them to someone else, you have violated copyright by law. Our society has lots of places where we feel like it's ethical, but the law doesn't make room for sentimentality.
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    Re: Copyright

    Another question if you don't mind:

    What about those who do the downloading. Are they violating the copyright also


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    Re: Copyright

    We see it here as well.

    There is plenty of code in the CodeBank forums that was just lifted and republished from others' sites, without so much as a credit to the source much less permission to duplicate and redistribute it here.

    The moderators catch a lot of it, but they aren't omniscient and do not have infinite time.


    Enough people have ended up getting burned or warned by their company legal staff of potential trouble... that if they want to use something from the CodeBank they'll post a request that the author repost the code adding some kind of explicit license terms.

    Not to hijack the thread in this direction, but people should read the TOS here before posting code. In (my own, flawed I'm sure) summary, you retain copyright but grant the Company Entities some pretty broad usage rights, and they accept no responsibility for any 3rd party viewers' actions. I'm not sure they can do a whole lot more and have these sites function as intended.

    So I've assumed that even if you add license terms to posted code here the TOS implicitly overrides them for those Company Entities. Legally it probably has the status of a separate license with priority. I'm sure lawyers would haggle over it but for me life is too short.

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    Re: Copyright

    This sort of goes back to mixtape culture, back when cassette tape bootlegs were considered "fair use" so long as they weren't being sold, particularly at large scale. This also extended to VHS tapes.

    We do have to note that both VHS and cassette tapes had a property that was called out at the time: even with professional-grade hardware, copying an original tape to a new tape caused some loss of quality. It was in many court decisions that this 'imperfect copy' represented something that made the originals worth more to consumers, and that made them less damaging.

    There is a loss of quality when you encode a CD to MP3 or AVI, but from that point on everyone gets a perfect copy. And these days, it's feasible to trade CD ISOs or FLAC, which is lossless. Since a major part of the court decision concerning VHS/cassette tapes depended on the loss of quality, an argument can be made that most of today's filesharing formats make perfect copies of the originals, and the original decisions may not apply.

    Right now it feels like the law makes no real exceptions: it's not legal to publish someone else's copyrighted file in a way that lets large amounts of total strangers obtain a copy or stream it without express permission from the copyright holder.

    But there is also "fair use" law, which has broad powers of interpretation. Giving a friend an mp3 may be technically illegal, but you might be able to argue in court that your damages in that case are small, that you did not profit from the transaction, and that on that basis you aren't guilty of infringement. Maybe you win, maybe you don't. That lawyer's going to cost a bunch of money.

    This was sort of present in the tape days, too. Making a bootleg copy of a tape and sharing it with a friend or two was extremely unlikely to get you sued. Making a few dozen copies and running a booth at a farmer's market was likely to get you in trouble. I imagine the same applies to MP3s and video files: if you're small-scale trading with friends the odds you even get detected are small, let alone charged.

    But it's one of those things like rolling very slowly through a stop sign without stopping. On the right day, a cop might watch you and decide you were careful enough. And most of us consider this fair play when the intersection isn't congested. But on any day, the police can write you a ticket for running a stop sign, because the only legal way to proceed is to come to a full stop.
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    Re: Copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    We see it here as well.

    There is plenty of code in the CodeBank forums that was just lifted and republished from others' sites, without so much as a credit to the source much less permission to duplicate and redistribute it here.

    The moderators catch a lot of it, but they aren't omniscient and do not have infinite time.


    Enough people have ended up getting burned or warned by their company legal staff of potential trouble... that if they want to use something from the CodeBank they'll post a request that the author repost the code adding some kind of explicit license terms.

    Not to hijack the thread in this direction, but people should read the TOS here before posting code. In (my own, flawed I'm sure) summary, you retain copyright but grant the Company Entities some pretty broad usage rights, and they accept no responsibility for any 3rd party viewers' actions. I'm not sure they can do a whole lot more and have these sites function as intended.

    So I've assumed that even if you add license terms to posted code here the TOS implicitly overrides them for those Company Entities. Legally it probably has the status of a separate license with priority. I'm sure lawyers would haggle over it but for me life is too short.
    Oh gosh, this.

    If you post code, it should be your own code that you have written. The TOS for the site (probably) states that this assumption is made, and by posting your code you are granting your copyright to the forums so they can legally display it.

    If you post code from another site, I think you are ethically obligated to at the very least link to where it came from. That credits whoever posted it, and if that doesn't turn out to be the original author at least you've indicated you didn't lift it straight from the 'real' copyright holder. I prefer to link to the site rather than copying the code myself: that means if the site receives a cease and desist, I haven't helped make it harder to take it down.

    All said and done, it's easier to deal with the ethics if you just post your own code.
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    Re: Copyright

    What about those who do the downloading. Are they violating the copyright also
    I'm not sure whether it's covered by copyright law or something else but it's certainly covered and people have been successfully sued for it.

    In fact, I think it might even be considered theft.
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    Re: Copyright

    Correct me if I am misinterpreting.

    I get the impression that if you write code, your own code, you automatically own the copyright to that code. How do you prove you are the original author.

    I have downloaded many a zip file, opened it up and extracted out the code and when I see the code in the IDE I see stuff at the top saying who the author is, date etc, some copyright mumbo jumbo and then something like this: You may copy this code, modify it, and use it in your own project royalty free but you must give me credit if you do use it.

    OK, who's to say that the code I downloaded was actually written by the person who says he is the author and how do I (or him) prove or disprove it.


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    Re: Copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    I'm not sure whether it's covered by copyright law or something else but it's certainly covered and people have been successfully sued for it.

    In fact, I think it might even be considered theft.
    OK, I once bought a DVD movie off of EBay. When I got it I discovered it was a copy. Am I guilty of any crime


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    Re: Copyright

    In case you wanted to know a bit about the actual laws on US books

    Copyright affords an author a number of exclusive rights: (1) the exclusive right to reproduce, or copy, the work; (2) the exclusive right to prepare new works that derive from the copyrighted work; (3) the exclusive right to distribute the work to the public by sale or other arrangement; (4) the exclusive right to perform the work publicly; and (5) the exclusive right to display the work publicly. The first two rights, involving reproduction and derivation, are infringed whether violated in public or in private, or whether violated for profit or not. The last three rights are infringed only when violated publicly, that is, before a "substantial number of persons" outside of family and friends (17 U.S.C.A. 101).
    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/copyright

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    Re: Copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by jmsrickland View Post
    OK, I once bought a DVD movie off of EBay. When I got it I discovered it was a copy. Am I guilty of any crime
    You got swindled - EBay and the seller are at fault.

    You have no liability (as long as you are telling the truth about NOT KNOWING in advance).

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    Re: Copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by szlamany View Post
    You got swindled - EBay and the seller are at fault.

    You have no liability (as long as you are telling the truth about NOT KNOWING in advance).
    Maybe "swindled" in the legal sense but it was a fair price, excellent copy, and a movie I had been trying to get for years.

    Perhaps I am guilty of keeping an illegal copy of it.

    Later, I found out that EBay closed his account and I never saw him again.


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    MS SQL Powerposter szlamany's Avatar
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    Re: Copyright

    People buy stolen property unknowingly all the time.

    The law can show up and simply take it away - it's not yours if it's stolen.

    Someone must have told EBay that they received an "illegal" copy - that is what you should have done. Don't you support the income rights of the copyright holders of that movie?

    About 20 years ago I had a server that had kind of an unsecure FTP site on it. I started finding copies of DVD files buried in oddly named deep-subfolder'd locations. Found out that German ip addresses were using my server as a middle man for these files. In addition to closing down access to this site we also alerted the proper law enforcement organizations (cya all the way...)

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    Re: Copyright

    I suppose he was selling other copies of movies so someone must have received one and reported it but at the time I had no idea of all this copyright stuff and didn't know it was considered illegal, to me it was just a copy and nothing else. I suppose someone will say ignorance of the law is no excuse.


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    Re: Copyright

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but I think that ignorance of a crime may well be an excuse as long as you're believable. As szlamany said, you don't own stolen property, so it could be taken away. However, if you didn't know it was stolen property you aren't going to be charged with anything. Technically, if you didn't know it was stolen, and you paid money for it, and it is confiscated as stolen goods, then you paid money for nothing. In other words, you were defrauded of the money you paid for an item you effectively didn't receive. The actual definitions would be up to the discretion of the prosecutor, but I'd guess they'd end up about like that, at the worst: You'd be out the money and that's all.
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    Re: Copyright

    Of course since eBay whacked the guy after fiding him out, for all you know your account is on a "watch list" now.

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    Re: Copyright

    Maybe at that time but I don't use that account anymore. This was many years ago. I haven't been back to EBay for several years. It was my first time on EBay when I bought the movie. I hardly even knew the rules and whatnots and other things one should know. After that I only bought a few more items (a few rare coins which turned out to be genuine; lucky me since I heard a lot of sellers were selling counterfeits) and quit going back - lost interest in it I guess.


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    Re: Copyright

    I wouldn't get bent out of shape.

    The recording industry would argue buying any film from eBay is illegal, because they believe secondhand sales of movies is theft. The Supreme Court has argued against this, citing something called "The First Sale Doctrine" that allows you to resell things you have purchased. This is one of the ways physical media is superior to digital media.

    While the music industry is interested in attacking anyone who even looks at illicit mp3 files, the film industry has been much more reserved. I'd argue you're more likely to be hit by a car than get sued for having purchased a bootleg DVD by accident from eBay.

    Now, if you purchased 100 bootleg DVDs, then we have to say "by accident" with the sarcasm quotes, and that's when they might build a case.
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  23. #23
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    Re: Copyright

    I get the impression that if you write code, your own code, you automatically own the copyright to that code. How do you prove you are the original author.
    A lot of code that people have written is not protected as it is not significantly unique enough. You cant write some fairly generic functions and expect to gain copyright as many people have already written the same code and its all over the internet.

    The type of code that can get protected tends to be of 2 types;

    1, something new or unique like compression algorithms or maybe the code used in Recent Virtual Reality headsets.

    2, Code that represents business knowledge / logic can also sometime be protected, but normally its really the functionality rather then the specific code.

    As szlamany said, you don't own stolen property, so it could be taken away.
    Lets talk reality here no one is going to come round your house and confiscate 1 counterfeit dvd you bought off the internet unknowingly.

    While all the posters here are right it is illegal and you shouldn't but illegal copies of films i think you could just consider this occasion a learning exercise.

    The recording industry would argue buying any film from eBay is illegal, because they believe secondhand sales of movies is theft.
    They might argue that but that doesn't make it true.

    Many industries rely on second hand sales to support the new sales e.g Cars, the Recording industry wants special treatment which it hasn't got.
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    Re: Copyright

    I think technically by not reporting that you received an illegal copy you would be deemed as being "in receipt of stolen goods" which is a crime in the UK. But I doubt the police would care and the husky desk sergeant would probably just laugh at you and tell you to go home. The law's there so they can go after serious black market profiteers rather than some dopey fella who got duped on eBay.

    Second hand sales is a murky area at the moment. If you read any software/music/film license it almost certainly says you can't resell it. But contracts can't supersede the law and the law says you're free to sell anything you own. The question becomes whether you "own" the property. With physical property it's pretty cut and dried that you do own it but with intellectual property... not so much. It's a very grey area and is a large part of why these industries are so keen to move to a licensing model where you categorically do not own the property, just the temporary right to consume it.
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    Re: Copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    ...

    Second hand sales is a murky area at the moment. If you read any software/music/film license it almost certainly says you can't resell it. But contracts can't supersede the law and the law says you're free to sell anything you own. The question becomes whether you "own" the property. With physical property it's pretty cut and dried that you do own it but with intellectual property... not so much. It's a very grey area and is a large part of why these industries are so keen to move to a licensing model where you categorically do not own the property, just the temporary right to consume it.
    It actually is pretty cut and dried. The grey area is that digital works can be copied so easily. While a book can be physically copied, it isn't a trivial exercise. Likewise, going back to tapes, copying isn't trivial.

    So, it has been established that you can transfer ownership [of a book] as fair use, as long as you don't copy it. Likewise, a movie that you purchased would be allowed to be resold under fair use. Again, if you didn't keep a copy of it.

    Continuing, this would be the same with software; reselling falls under fair use.

    Unfortunately, english language gets in our way: 'I have a copy of Minions I'd like to sell'. Is it a 'copy', or is it the 'DVD'*I purchased? by being lax in our language, we can sometimes justify wrong doing. There's a reason legal documents are written the way they are - dry and specific, and very extensive. Its really doesn't need a lawyer to understand them; people are just lazy.

    With intellectual property, it is the same. You own your own intellectual property; but this is different from copyright. Regardless of the non-obvious nature of any given work, you own the copyright. Even if 10 programers come up with the exact same code, each individual owns the copyright to their code. It does not matter that the code or result is the same.

    By even contemplating a grey area, it is proposing that people don't own the copyright to code and that it is thus OK to copy. Publishing code to a forum such as this, there are clauses in the use of this forum that by publishing to the forum you have given up certain rights automatically assigned by copyright - you [generally] still own the copyright, however (I'm assuming that this site doesn't take copyright ownership of any published code; I haven't read the specifics to be honest).

    Just because the digital world has given us the ease to both copy and mass disseminate, doesn't diminish the enforcement or validity of copyright.

    I think there is a misconception about copyright: just because a piece of code is copyrighted, does not mean you can't use it; you can have copyright on code and assign rights to others (for example, JQuery is still copyrighted; it released for consumption under specific licensing conditions).
    Last edited by SJWhiteley; Jun 10th, 2016 at 06:54 AM.
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    Re: Copyright

    All these replies and it doesn't seem anyone clarified the answer to the original question...

    There are two primary types of copyright infringement: civil and criminal. Civil copyright infringement covers non-profit sharing, like uploading on YouTube or torrents or P2P. You can be sued in civil court by the rightholders, but you cannot be arrested by the police, charged in criminal court, or be incarcerated. There is no minimum amount of damages; they can sue you for a single song uploaded. Criminal copyright infringement is where you're doing it for profit (or share works with a combined retail value over $1000 in 180 days), and this can not only get you arrested and imprisoned, but you can also be sued civilly for the same act. There are both misdemeanor and felony criminal copyright charges depending on the scale of the operation.

    So your friend is civilly liable for uploading the songs to YouTube, and both civilly and criminally liable if he was selling them. There's no circumstance where you can distribute without permission a work subject to copyright (and not fair use) and not be infringing. Furthermore, "fair use" is an affirmative defense: Once you've already been dragged into court, you can THEN argue fair use (which has fairly narrow terms), in hopes of winning the case.

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    Re: Copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by fafalone View Post
    All these replies and it doesn't seem anyone clarified the answer to the original question...

    ...
    yes they did; first reply (techgnome): both instances are copyright violation.

    The following discussions are just that, but all generally support the initial answer.
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    Re: Copyright

    Short answer: TANSTAAFL!

    But there are probably few Heinlein fans left around here anymore.

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    Re: Copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by fafalone View Post
    Always nice to get a reminder how little explanations are valued over yes/no, thanks for your contribution and snark.
    Maybe not going off the reservation might help?
    "Ok, my response to that is pending a Google search" - Bucky Katt.
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  31. #31
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    Re: Copyright

    Clearly not having a two-word reply and ending the thread was a huge mistake, I apologize for offending you with explaining *why* the answer was 'both are', there's no way someone asking a question would be interested in the explanation behind the answer- good looking out!

  32. #32
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by fafalone View Post
    Always nice to get a reminder how little explanations are valued over yes/no, thanks for your contribution and snark.
    This is Chit-Chat! This is the snark tank!
    My usual boring signature: Nothing

  33. #33
    PowerPoster Nightwalker83's Avatar
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    Re: Copyright

    Going from experience I would have to say no! I have shared songs on You Tube as part of videos I have created and I have had some of those videos reported for copyright infringement and have been slapped with a warning as well as the video removed. Although, I think that was because I did not include the arts information in the video information but I still can not figure out how to do that. Other videos I have seen on You Tube do the same thing but without acknowledging the copyright holders/artist and do not get pulled.
    when you quote a post could you please do it via the "Reply With Quote" button or if it multiple post click the "''+" button then "Reply With Quote" button.
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  34. #34
    You don't want to know.
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    Re: Copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightwalker83 View Post
    Going from experience I would have to say no! I have shared songs on You Tube as part of videos I have created and I have had some of those videos reported for copyright infringement and have been slapped with a warning as well as the video removed. Although, I think that was because I did not include the arts information in the video information but I still can not figure out how to do that. Other videos I have seen on You Tube do the same thing but without acknowledging the copyright holders/artist and do not get pulled.
    Well, that can depend on a lot of factors.

    First, a lot of actions are taken by Youtube automatically because of thier Content-ID system. Copyright holders have given them samples of copyrighted works, and if Content-ID finds something in your video that matches it "does something".

    Next, copyright holders themselves might stumble upon your video and manually report it. Or, as is often the case, random internet people who like to cause trouble will report it on the copyright holder's behalf. When that happens, maybe some investigation happens, but the end result is Youtube "does something".

    "Does something" varies depending upon the rights holder. They can choose "remove the content", "edit it out of the video", or "monetize it". If they choose 'edit', the video is muted or cropped to remove the offending content. If they choose 'monetize', then ads are injected before/during the video and they make money from those ads (you don't get a cut.) This is a choice content holders tend to make once for all of their content, not something they choose case-by-case.

    So it's possible your videos infringe things Content-Id picks up, and the copyright holders chose to remove any video with the content. The videos that don't get pulled might be using unrecognizable content, or Content-ID might not be picking it up, or the rights holder might have decided to monetize instead of removing their content. The whole system is very opaque, and no one but Youtube can answer why those videos are not pulled.

  35. #35
    MS SQL Powerposter szlamany's Avatar
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    Re: Copyright

    This is a good read - see the YouTube section at the bottom

    http://www.mtna.org/member-resources...opyright-faqs/

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  36. #36
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    Re: Copyright

    Quote Originally Posted by Sitten Spynne View Post
    Oh gosh, this.

    If you post code, it should be your own code that you have written. The TOS for the site (probably) states that this assumption is made, and by posting your code you are granting your copyright to the forums so they can legally display it.

    If you post code from another site, I think you are ethically obligated to at the very least link to where it came from. That credits whoever posted it, and if that doesn't turn out to be the original author at least you've indicated you didn't lift it straight from the 'real' copyright holder. I prefer to link to the site rather than copying the code myself: that means if the site receives a cease and desist, I haven't helped make it harder to take it down.

    All said and done, it's easier to deal with the ethics if you just post your own code.
    brb posting hl3 source

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