Web copyright for the complete dumbass

Ian Lurie

I’m a generous guy. So, when I see someone acting like a complete scumbag, I assume they’re ignorant, instead. For example, if you take an article I wrote in 2005 and put it up for sale, without my permission, on a third-party site, like this:

My article's for sale! Too bad I'm not selling it.

My article's for sale! Too bad I'm not selling it.

…I take the high road: You’re not a dishonest pile of oyster snot, or a lazy, incompetent diaper-wipe.

No. I would never imply that.

You’re just… a little slow. Dense. Dumb. Debilitated. IQ-deprived. You deserve my sympathy, not my homicidal rage. Because somehow, you don’t understand one of the simplest concepts: Copyright.

So, Abihud or whatever your name is, this one’s for you, babe:

What Copyright is

Here’s the definition, in surprisingly clear English, straight from the US Copyright Office.

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

I’m sure you’ve never seen it before. You just decided to start selling my stuff without my permission, ‘cause that’s how you roll. Otherwise, I might be tempted to call you a festering pusbag. But I won’t.

Most countries support it through international treaty and general good sense. You can get a nice list of all the countries that support US Copyright in this nice copyright PDF that the Copyright Office puts out.

By the way, I don’t recommend putting that circular up for sale in your store. I’m sure you’d never do that, but if you did, the US government can really be prickly. They won’t just call you a reeking slimepot of unrolled newt intestines—which I’d never do—they’ll sue you.

When Copyright happens

If I publish something online, it’s protected by copyright. In fact, it’s protected “the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device”. In other words, if I record the sound of me warbling tunelessly while in the shower, then release it on the internet myself, you can’t reproduce and sell it.

There’s no way, in your current, brain-damaged state, that you’d know this. I mean, if you did, that’d make you lower than slime-covered leech guano: A creature totally unwilling to earn their own way.

And there’s no way that’s the case.

When Copyright ends

Copyright ends 70 years after the author (that’s me) dies.

And I promise, I will hang on long enough to haunt you and your descendants. If I should get run over by a car ferry on my bike ride home today, feel free to begin selling this article in June of 2082. That’s on the Gregorian Calendar, you huggable, slow-witted marketer.

What to do if someone steals your work

You have a lot of options:

  1. You can resort to name-calling, write long, passive-aggressive posts and try to humiliate the hairless pork badger who stole your stuff. Very fun, and endless blog fodder.
  2. You can contact their service provider (in this case, Tradebit.com). If they ignore you, take the high road. Don’t imply the service provider is permitting people to steal stuff with a wink. Chances are, they’re just not answering their phone or e-mail.
  3. You can contact them with a polite but firm message. If they ignore your message for 24 hours, go back to #1.
  4. Hire a lawyer. Useful, if there’s enough at stake. In my case, I’d rather plot ruination for the rotting garbage heap poor ignorant bastard who stole my stuff.
  5. File a DMCA takedown request with Google, the hosting provider, etc. Pretty drastic, and something I hate doing when it will hurt the service provider more than the thief. I may get there eventually, but not yet.

By the way…

The article this lovable dunderhead stole from me is available for free on this blog. Download it right here.

Also, it looks like he stole the e-book in this package, too. It’s available for free here, and was probably written by Steve Bailey.

Another innocent mistake, I’m sure.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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  1. Another copyright violating schlock meets his come-uppance. I wouldn’t ever want you mad at me.
    By the way, is the tuneless warbling going to be on iTunes anytime soon? I need some white noise for my 8 mo old. *cough*

  2. Brilliant. I am sad that copyright infringement happens. The only upside is posts like this.
    Witty, biting, and informative; a killer combo.
    Well done sir.

  3. The audacity… The pretentiousness… The pomposity… How dare they infringe on your copyright!!!
    Ok, ok… I’m being dramatic and sarcastic. I would be just as pissed if I were in your shoes. I always enjoy your vibrant and colorful rants. Makes my day, evening, night, whatever… Every time.

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