SPECTRUM Policies on Copyright Infringement and Plagiarism
As a SPECTRUM member, content producer, contributor, guest or any other
contributor or user on the SPECRUM website or its affiliated services, you agree that
you will refrain from any and all acts of copyright infringement, plagiarism, and
other violations of intellectual property law while you are using this website.
When you respect the copyrighted works of others,
you help ensure that others will respect and protect your rights.
Copyright infringement is "the unauthorized use of copyrighted material in a
manner that violates one of the copyright owner's exclusive rights, such as the
right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works
that build upon it." (Wikipedia)
Most original writings and art (books, magazine articles, news stories,
online writings, photographs, drawings, clipart, etc.) are protected by copyright.
Works created during the past thirty years are protected by copyright
automatically, even if they do not contain a copyright notice!
It is unlawful to "copy and paste" a magazine article, news story, tutorial
or other writings (whether published in print or online) unless you have the
copyright owner's permission to do so, or you own the material yourself. Similarly,
it is illegal to use copyrighted images, even small clipart drawings, unless you have
permission or own the work yourself. When dealing with copyright law, the saying "ignorance
of the law is no excuse" applies. Even an honest mistake (for example, "I didn't know the
material was copyrighted!") may subject an infringer to criminal prosecution and
To lawfully use copyrighted writings or artwork, you must have permission
from the copyright owner. Although it is not required, you should always obtain
the copyright holder's consent in writing for your own protection and to avoid
misunderstandings. Often, the author or artist who created the work owns the
copyright, but sometimes a publishing firm or other third party may own the
rights. Before you can use copyrighted material in your own work, you must
locate and contact the copyright owner and explain what material you wish to use
and exactly how you propose to use it. The owner may say "No" or might authorize
the use, perhaps for a fee, and often subject to certain restrictions. You must
follow every condition to the tee.
Plagiarism is not a crime; but it
is an "intellectual offense" that can have serious personal and economic repercussions.
Plagiarism is "the use of another's ideas, information, language, or writing,
when done without proper acknowledgment of the original source."
It differs from copyright infringement in the sense that an author might pass
off a quote or a short bit of original material as their own without attributing
the true author. Plagiarism is not a crime and won't result in
criminal prosecution, but it is an "intellectual offense" which may
undermine an author's or expert's credibility and lead to scandal,
loss of employment, and other serious personal and economic consequences.
Fair Use is a legal doctrine under which you can make very limited use
of some copyrighted material in certain situations. For example, you can usually
use short quotations from a copyrighted work as long as you cite the author's
name and source of the material. You are free to refer to copyrighted works,
describe them in your own words, review or analyze them, offer your opinions,
and provide links to such writings and images, as long as you do not falsely
claims the materials as your own.
Public domain is a legal term that refers to works which are not
protected by copyright. This includes many works published prior to the 1930s,
and most material published by the U.S. Government using taxpayer funds. From
time to time, you may come across a website where an author or creator of an
image declares "I release this material to the public domain" or something to
that effect. You can freely use public domain material without permission from
anyone, but you must still credit the source.
If you are in doubt
about the copyright status of a work or whether you can use it,
do not use it!
In all writings and other content that you post on the SPECTRUM website and any of our affiliated services, you agree to respect the
copyrights and trademarks of others. All material that you post must be your own
original work, must not contain any copyrighted material unless you have written
permission to use it (and you have provided us with documentation), and any
content used under Fair Use or Public Domain doctrines must be appropriately
cited and attributed to the original source.
Any act of copyright infringement or plagiarism will result in immediate and
permanent termination of privileges on this website. If you are in doubt about
the copyright status of material or whether you can lawfully use excerpts from
such material, err on the side of caution and do not use it. If you have questions about these policies, please