The Internet has turned a lot of honest people into thieves. People who wouldn't dream of walking out of a retail store without paying for a pack of gum have no remorse about stealing online content. Pictures. Blog posts. Funny videos.
And that's turned copyright issues from "an obscure corner of the law" to "the subject of conversation at picnics and parties," said Christopher Kenneally, director of Business Development at the Danvers, Mass.–based Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), a global licensing and content solutions organization.
Despite what many of us think in this age of incessant sharing, people who create “original works of authorship" — literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works — actually have rights. Under copyright laws in the US and other countries, you need permission from the copyright holder to reproduce, distribute, display or perform these works.
So much for making that great aerial picture of a tropical sunset you stumbled upon the background for your Facebook page.