Managing Rights on Your WordPress Blog
WordPress themes make it easy to get your blog up and running. What they cannot do for you, however, is help you navigate the tricky waters of managing the rights to your content. Doing so requires that you spend a little time learning about the various strategies available for doing so and that you accept the fact that, inevitably, some of your content is going to be reproduced without your permission. Here are some of the more technical aspects of managing content.
It's generally accepted that putting a copyright notice on the bottom of your page for each post does protect you against having that content used for profit without your permission. Understand, however, that there are exceptions to this rule. Fair use is a contentious area of the law on the Internet.
There are certain circumstances where people can reproduce your content without your permission. You'll want to make certain that you're aware of this when you get into blogging in the first place. Parody, for instance, is generally considered acceptable as far as reasons to reproduce somebody's content. If you're in doubt about whether or not somebody is violating your copyright on your own material, a copyright lawyer is really the only one who can answer those questions for you accurately. Study up on all of this so that you know what to expect when you put your content up on the web.
Creative Commons refers both to a type of license and the organization that offers these licenses. They are available for free and you can utilize a Creative Commons license anywhere on your website, provided it is an appropriate type of license.
A Creative Commons license is not the same thing as a copyright. The copyright reserves all of the rights to use that material to you. If somebody wants to use copyrighted material of yours, they have to contact you and negotiate that use on a case-by-case basis. Under the Creative Commons license, you use one of many different options with this type of license to let people know how they may reproduce your content without having to negotiate that usage with you individually.
Before you start thinking that Creative Commons licensing rips off the creator, remember that it can be a powerful form of advertising. There are literally hundreds of millions of photographs, pieces of music, written pieces and other forms of original content that fall under Creative Commons licensing of one sort or another. Explore this option for your blog content if it seems like something that would serve you well.
If you put material up on a blog, go ahead and expect to find it on sites that you did not give permission to use it and that use it in a way that implies that you're not even the author. Part of the reason that this is going to happen is that there are many nations where copyright law is not acknowledged or enforced and, of course, it would be nearly impossible to track down the person who actually used your content without permission.
Understand that such usages may not constitute any real loss for you. Particularly if you are offering your content on a blog where people can read it for free, you're not losing anything by having it reproduced on other websites. If somebody does reproduce your content in a way that you believe violates the law, your best bet is to contact an attorney about the matter. You may want to contact the webmaster of the offending site, as well, and tell them that you want it taken down, though this may have varying degrees of effectiveness, particularly if that webmaster is located outside your home nation.