10 Things I can LEGALLY Share on the Web

Ever since the Napster copyright lawsuit, there has been considerable tip-toeing and some gamesmanship online regarding what is and isn’t legal to share. While the focus of web-sharing usually revolves around the illegal side of things, there are still plenty of things we can safely share with others without fear of breaking any laws. Here are 10 things I can legally share on the web:

  1. Home Video – If I’ve made the video myself and have not copied it from another publisher then it’s my property. That means I can post it wherever I want and share it with whomever I choose without any fear of legal repercussions.
  2. Personal Photos – As with self-made videos, any photos that I’ve taken myself are legal for me to share, provided that the content therein doesn’t violate any laws. So obviously pornographic content would not be legal for me to share under certain circumstances, such as with minors, however family photos can be shared freely.
  3. Public Domain Content – If there is no copyright on the content, then it can be considered legal to share with the masses. Such content is usually public domain anyway, which means it is available for use and transfer by the general public.
  4. Purchased Content – Unless otherwise specified in a purchase agreement or EULA (End Users License Agreement), any content, media, or product that I have purchased outright is mine to share or sell as I see fit. Exceptions would include software licenses that limit the number of devices onto which the software can be downloaded.
  5. Backlinks – If I feature, or link back to, content that belongs to another website with their permission, this does not constitute plagiarism. It can be shared legally, since you are citing and pointing back to its source.
  6. Retweets – RT’s are basically a tool for quoting others on Twitter. Since the format clearly identifies the content as a retweet, it isn’t considered duplicate content, or plagiarism. Though some recipients might beg to differ after having gotten the same RT from a dozen different friends in the past 5 minutes.
  7. MP3’s – If you paid for them, then they are yours. Other than any potential restrictions that may exist in a EULA, purchases of songs allow the buyer to share those files without restriction (by arturo at testsforge). The caveat, as with a service like iTunes, is that the purchased content can only be played on the merchant’s proprietary player.
  8. Royalty Free Images – You can find photos and images that do not require the purchase of a license to share on several websites, such as freestockphotos.com. Or you can buy the license required to own the rights to publish them.
  9. Creative Commons – This is an organization that is dedicated to creating an internet where users can search, share, and use resources freely by providing “a free, public, and standardized infrastructure that creates a balance between the reality of the Internet and the reality of copyright laws”.
  10. Bandwidth – Using a wireless router, you can create a connection point to the internet for any number of users through your modem or router. Of course, you can also charge a fee for access if you so choose.

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