Copyright in the electronic age is an extremely complex matter and
there are often no definitive answers - this section does NOT
offer any FORMAL guidance. Copyright differs from country to
and whilst you may feel that what you do is OK where you live, it
may be illegal elsewhere.
It is wisest to assume that all published material is copyright
and has restrictions on its use. Some of it is highly valuable
intellectual property and will be worth defending in the courts.
For example, if a museum publishes its pictures on the Internet, you
may not publish them in your own work without permission.
However, the very fact that a page is on the Internet implies that
it can and will be downloaded (since the browser reads it into memory).
However, printing it to paper could constitute a breach of copyright
as could mailing it to others.
Documents are copyright even if they do not explicitly contain
a copyright notice.
Note to authors
In preparing material you must be scrupulously careful to
avoid infringing copyright. It is almost always illegal to:
However some authors allow you do redistribute their copyright
material, often with conditions. These can be:
- scan a document electronically and publish it on the Internet.
- copy a page or pages from somewhere else on the Net and insert
them into your hypertree.
- Redistribution must include the original copyright notice
- The document may not be modified or similar restrictions.
- The further use of the document is restricted (e.g. it cannot
When in doubt the safest courses are:
- Contact the original author(s).
- always point to the URL rather than downloading material
- Redraw diagrams.
- Give acknowledgements.