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The Rights Stuff

Read all about it, closeout encounters, do you copy?

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This story appears in the September 1998 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

While designing a Web site for your bed-and-breakfast inn, you find a poem in a book that perfectly describes your Victorian home. Can you use it on your site? Or maybe you've seen a picture on another site you'd like to copy and use on yours. Can you? Of course--if you get permission from the copyright owner and pay a fee, if he or she charges one.

Copyrights, which protect authors' original works (considered "intellectual property"), can cover a wide range of endeavors, including recorded music, artwork, writing and Web sites. Copyright ownership takes effect as soon as the work is placed into fixed form, and only the author or those with permission from the author can publish or distribute the copyrighted work.

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