Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ahoy, mateys. Beware of internet piracy.

The population of Pico is made up of people of many ages - from tweens to seniors - some of whom have chosen to share their perspectives and voices through blogging about their Pico experiences.

Pico blogs are created to focus on trends, fashion, friends/clans, "paparazzi", humor, rooms and more. When bloggers write about their opinions and how they view Pico life it entertains us, informs us and can even make a difference in our lives.

Blogging is fun. But bloggers must also be responsible. One of the biggest responsibilities is respecting intellectual property. Some of the younger Pico writers who may be blogging for the first time may not yet be familiar with what intellectual property is. Children and adults need to be aware.

What is "intellectual property"?
Have you ever ...?:
  • taken a photograph
  • composed a story, report, song or poem in your own words
  • drawn, painted or designed a picture that has never been created by anyone before
We all have. Anything that you have created from words, images, sounds, etc. and have uniquely put together belongs to you legally. This work is your intellectual property.
Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.
IP is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs. — Source: World Intellectual Property Organization
In your everyday life you come across many things that are protected by copyright from being used or distributed without the creator or licensor's permission. Some of these things include logos on products or advertisements, text and images in newspapers and magazines, television shows and commercials, movies/films, music, clothing designs and textiles ... and more.

You may decide to show off your articles, photos or drawings online. That doesn't mean that someone can take your work, re-post it to their site or page without your permission and/or without giving you credit. After all, in the eyes of the law that is illegal; it's called copyright infringement. It's modern day piracy!

What do I do if someone has stolen my intellectual property online?
Sometimes the person may have used your work, not realizing that they have done something that is illegal. Though what they have done may make you steaming mad, try to keep your cool.

If your work has been posted to someone's user account on an online service:
Sites that you sign up for a user account on - like Ameba Pico or Pigg,, deviantART, Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket, etc - have Terms of Service rules that you agree to follow when you sign up to use the service. These rules are also designed to protect you in situations where you are being harassed or your work has been stolen.

Check the web site service that the stolen content is on for a link or button that allows you to report stolen content that someone has uploaded to their account. Sometimes, you can click the Contact link to tell the people who run the site about your stolen work.

For example, when you view a blog hosted on, there's a bar at the top you can use to Report Abuse.

If your work has been posted to someone's personal web site:
When someone has their own web site (example: they have purchased their web space and address from a hosting service. You will have to find out who their hosting service is and contact them with your evidence (example: screen shots or links of your content creation/upload dates versus the "offender's").

You can find out any web site's hosting service/registrar, but looking up the site's domain using a WHO IS site, like

Remember! ... Either way, you will have to prove that you own the original work.

Keep in mind that intellectual property and copyright are very complex legal issues that can't be covered entirely in this blog entry. If you want to learn more:

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