Copyright, the Internet, and Why it (Should) Matter to You (Infographic)

copyrighted[1] Between movies, news articles, blog posts, and LOLcat gifs, the average consumer gets (and shares) a lot of content on the internet. With this endless stream of information that is being shared, there is a question we need to ask: When are you breaking the law?

There is an ongoing debate between internet companies and media companies (some of which are in both camps) on how the issue should be enforced.

On one end are the defenders of the copyright holders owners who believe that copyright is a basic property right which should be defended at all costs, and at the other extreme there are those who believe that copyright is an authoritarian imposition, as a governmental interference in markets that should be free.

And in between the two, you’ll find the rest of us – those who don’t intend to infringe (but are probably doing it anyway). Wherever you stand, the following infographic will help you learn more about the laws that affect you on the internet everyday.


Tech Cocktail

Nate Hoffelder

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Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Rain, Rain12 November, 2014

    Okay, I just have to get this off my chest, because I usually really enjoy your site. This is a truly lousy infographic. It looks to have been cobbled together from a hodgepodge of sources by someone with no discernible expertise in copyright law. The decontextualized jumble of misleading, if not downright inaccurate, case law and “legislation” blurbs references wildly unrelated and occasionally irrelevant developments like: a non-legislative U.S. “Working Group” whose various reports on fair use left nary a trace in copyright law; a five-year-old Swedish criminal case; a handful of randomly-selected, inaccurately-summarized U.S. court cases; and, inexplicably, ACTA, which never entered into force, so what it’s doing on this timeline is anybody’s guess. My guess: the author had no earthly idea what she was doing.

    There’s plenty of good information about copyright law available on the web, but this isn’t some of it.

    1. Nate Hoffelder12 November, 2014

      Okay, I may have made a mistake. I knew the infographic had issues, but in all honesty I posted it as a setup for another post. Let me explain why.

      I don’t know how many people are aware of it, but infographics are sometimes used as an SEO gimmick. A site like the one you linked to hires a marketing company to make an infographic, which is then credited to the site which paid for it. Everyone who posts it is pressured to link back to the site, thus boosting that site’s SEO.

      I was going to write a post about this based on the email I expect to get from that marketing company. But now I wonder if this was a good idea.

  2. Rain, Rain13 November, 2014

    In penance, recite ten Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license agreements and link to Copyright Librarian’s fair-use-flowchart deconstruction. (Actually I suspect it’s more an analysis than a deconstruction, mainly because I don’t really know what “deconstruction” means, but whatever. It’s good, though.)

    And I’ll look forward to your SEO / marketing / clickbaiting post.


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