How to Avoid Violations on internet

When you create content and/or publish, it becomes your intellectual property. As owner of the content, you have all rights to control how the information can be copied, distributed or reproduced and also, Who can use the information. Similarly to use intellectual property owned by others, you need proper permissions from the rightful owner, However in some cases, the owners might provide guidelines for using the content without prior permissions enforced through certain licensing terms.

Certain authors, publishers or owners allow copying, reproducing or distributing content through certain legal conditions without the need for obtaining written permission. For example, you may be permitted to use the content under certain methods and licensing types such as Citation, Fair use, Public domain, Creative commons, etc.


Citation is a reference to a published or unpublished source. Citation is used for acknowledging or attributing the original work in order to avoid plagiarism. For example, if you would like to quite few sentences from a newspaper or book, you can indicate the source of the content used in your blog or printed material (Sample Below). 

“This document is compiled from content available in”  “Compiled from

Citation is usually available at the end of a document or material referred to as a “footnote”; however, citations need to be provided based on the terms and conditions as set by the owner. For example, you might have noticed the following citation in this text (end of theDigital Literacy). 

“Note: This document is compiled from a variety of source including Wikipedia, U.S Copyright website, Copyright handbook from copyright office- Government of India (”

This is an example to indicate where the key points and content are sourced from to: one, encourage readers to visit respective websites for any clarification and two, to comply with legal requirements.

Fair Use

Fair use is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author or a creative work. Fair use refers to using copyrighted materials to a limited extent without obtaining permission.

Examples of fair use includes news, reporting, teaching, researching, library archiving, etc. For example, you can include screenshots of a software product in a training document or a blog. However, it is recommended to check with the product vendor (in this scenario)or the website for legal requirements. To know more about fair use visit:

Public Domain

Works in the public domain are those whose intellectual property rights have expired, been forfeited, or are inapplicable. Basically, the public domain consists  of works that are publicly available. For example: a public domain that provides free images  is

Creative Commons

Creative commons (CC) is a non-profit organization headquartered in Mountain View, California, United States devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released  several copyright-licenses known as creative commons licenses free of charge to the public. These licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit or recipients or other creators.

creative commons licenses is one of several public copyright licenses that allow the distribution of copyrighted works. A creative commons licenses is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use and even build upon a work that they have created. Creative commons licensing provides an author flexibility (for example, they might choose to allow only non-commercial uses of their own work) and protects the people who use or redistribute an author’s work, so they don’t have to worry about copyright infringement, as long as they abide by the conditions the  author has specified.

There are several types of creative commons licenses. The licenses differ by several combinations that condition the terms of distribution. Creative commons licenses consist of four major condition modules:

  • Attribution (BY), requiring attribution to the original author.
  • Share Alike (SA), allowing derivative works under the same or a similar licenses (later or jurisdiction version).
  • Non-Commercial (NC), requiring the work is not used for commercial purposes.
  • No Derivative Works (ND), allowing only the original work, without derivatives.

These modules are combined to currently from six major licenses of the CC:

  1. Attribution (CC BY)
  2. Attribution Share Alike (CC BY-SA)
  3. Attribution No Derivatives (CC BY-ND)
  4. Attribution Non-Commercial (CC BY-NC)
  5. Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike (CC BY-NC-SA)
  6. Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND)
For example, Wikipedia uses Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license. You can learn more about Creative  commons at

Following are some of the guidelines to avoid copyright violations:

  1. Always check the source for legal requirements; usually guidelines are found in terms and conditions, terms of use, legal use, fair use,  about us, press images, etc sections of the website. If any of the pages or instructions are not available, mail the author (or webmaster) to confirm if you can use the content in your website or material.
  2. Never download or use illegitimate (pirated) software; if possible try to research and use open source software as an alternate instead.
  3. Never share product keys or serial keys; never install paid software (for self or others) unless you are sure of the transaction (receipt).
  4. Never attempt to browser websites that are restricted by the government.
  5. If content is copied or reproduced under Fair Use Policy, provide citation or credits to the author, source or publisher.
  6. When providing content or software, it is essential to provide copyright information. For example, you may include details such as weather the end-user can reproduce/ distribute/ download the content/ software you have created/ developed without your permission, or, if they need to get in touch with you for acquiring permissions for a free, etc.
  7. If you are not clear about the licensing terms and conditions, get help from  a licensing expert or contact the owner.

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