Flat Chat Forum Another day in paradise Current Page

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  • #53787

    I just want to alert Flatchatters to a potential problem with copying material from other sources.  Recently we ran a reader’s comprehensive rundown of a tricky legal issue in apartment living for which I and the original poster, at least, were very grateful.

    Then I discovered by chance that it was pretty much identical to material on a strata lawyer’s website.

    Now, disregarding the unlikely possibility that they copied their stuff from us, I just want to express a word of caution about using other people’s material in your posts.

    To be clear, just because someone has posted something on their or anyone else’s website doesn’t make it “public domain”.

    In fact, according to this fact sheet, reproducing written work from the internet without the original writer or publisher’s express permission leaves you open to accusations of breach of copyright.

    That said, you are more likely to be sued over copyright if you misuse the material, either claiming it as your own for commercial benefit, or distorting its meaning or intent. Most of us allow a certain amount of give and take, in the interest of getting quality information out to our readers.

    However, I have had occasion to threaten a demand for payment from a strata manager’s website that took one of my columns that they didn’t agree with, ran it on their own website and then invited its readers to rip into it for being ill informed.  And they did it without even offering me the courtesy of an opportunity to respond.

    I gave them the option of taking it down or paying me my (fictional) standard fee of $1500 + GST.  That did the trick.

    Back to the matter in question.  Individuals and companies put material on the internet to increase their profile and credibility, as well as to add to the greater sum of public knowledge in their field.

    In my book, which contains many grey areas, there is nothing at all wrong with passing that on to our readers – provided it is attributed.

    In the case in question, I might have said “according to Such and Such Strata Lawyers’ website …” and included a hyperlink to the fact sheet.

    That would not be self-advertising or promotion (which is banned from this forum).  And if you’re not sure, which is which, I would rather have the option to take links out than have to search them out and include them.

    In summary, I am very grateful to anyone who goes to the trouble of digging out quality information that’s to the benefit of all of us.

    In the case in point, it is the most comprehensive description of the Company Title conversion process that I have read.

    All that was missing was a wee attribution to let us all know where it came from.

    Small war, not many dead, but worth noting.


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