Theft is theft, no matter if the stolen data comes through a breach in someone's database or if the information was lifted straight from your Web site to be used by someone else. I normally talk about the action behind the firewall. Today I want to talk about an issue that is front and center and should be a concern to anyone who publishes anything on a Web site.
A woman named Monica Gaudio explained how an article she wrote on her blog turned up in a magazine. Gaudio wasn't asked permission to have the article reprinted, and when she wrote to complain and asked for a monetary donation (in lieu of reprint payment), the editor's remarks included that, because the article was on the Internet, it was automatically in the public domain and the editor had every right to use it freely.
Sounds like the old adage, if you saw it on the Internet, it must be true, doesn't it? No, just because something is on the Internet doesn't mean it is in the public domain and free for the taking. Words, pictures, graphics and music fall under the same copyright laws as anything in more traditional formats. True, there is a lot of stuff posted on the Web that shouldn't be there, but like it or not, it is vital to respect the ownership of the person who posted it.