Who owns all the stuff on the web?Online content is owned by people, usually the people who make it.
If you upload your photos, videos or soundtracks that you've recorded for other people to view and share, you are still the owner of your content.
The same goes for everyone else's content, including music, movies and TV shows. That's why musicians and artists are entitled to ask people to pay for their creative work—besides, how else are they supposed to make a living? Think about it!
What happens when I share my stuff?If you upload your photos, videos or soundtracks that you've recorded for other people to view and share, you are still the owner of your content. However, it's worth checking the 'terms and conditions' of any site you use for sharing, because you might have given that site permission to make use of your material.
Is it OK to use someone else's work?A great thing about the digital world is that it's so easy to share content, and reuse it for projects, or in mashups. But remember, the person (or people) who created the original work- the image, clip or song - are the owners of that work.
It's not OK to use someone else's work without permission, even if you credit the person who made it or who owns it. You do need to have their permission. However, you will probably not be breaking copyright law if you use material for research or study, so long as your use is fair.
What about music, movies and TV shows?Usually content on the web belongs to (is owned by) the people who make it. This includes music, movies and TV shows. This is the reason that musicians and artists are entitled to ask people to pay for their creative work. How else are they supposed to make a living?
What is piracy?The web makes it easy to access, copy and share work, even if the work is protected by copyright. This act of unauthorised copying of a work, whether or not it is marked 'copyright' or '©' is called piracy, and it may be illegal.
A lot of pirated content is shared around on P2P or file-sharing networks. If you download pirated content, know that you are breaking the law.
What is Creative Commons?Creative Commons is a system that allows authors, artists, scientists, musicians and others to mark their work with the freedoms they want it to carry—a way of saying what people may and may not do with their work.
For example, an artist or musician may be happy for you to reuse their work in a mashup just for fun and to show your friends, but not if you are then planning to sell the remix to make money for yourself.
What about content on file-sharing networks?If you use a P2P or file-sharing network, think about what you are sharing. Most P2P sharing is of copyrighted files (music and movies).
Know that you are breaking the law if you download copyrighted content without getting permission from the owner to use it, or without paying for it.
What about copying stuff for school work?The web makes it pretty easy to copy someone else's work and call it your own. Doing this is called 'plagiarism', which is cheating and wrong, at school, in the workplace, and even between friends. If you are making use of someone else's work, it's important that you reference the source — say where it comes from (the web address) and if possible who created it (the name of the author or organisation). And remember that many schools run software that can detect if students have copied someone else's work.
You also need to be careful how you use information you find online. Lots of the information on the web is out of date, biased, or simply not true.
Where else can I get help?It's a really good idea to install the cybersafety Help Button on your computer at home or school.
The Help Button is free, and it's easy to download (just check first with your parents or teacher). The button icon will sit on your desktop or you can place it on the taskbar. Then, you can just double click it if ever you need help or advice about something that's happened online, or you want to report something you've seen that's gross.
You can use the Help Button to find out more about how to report online threats including cyberbullying, nasty or gross content or people behaving badly on social or game sites, or online scams.
Download the Cybersafety Help button
Where can I find out more about ownership and copying?
You can find out more about ownership and copying of content if you click any of these links:
Music Industry Piracy Investigations
Creative Commons Australia
All Right to Copy?
Australian Copyright Council