Harry Potter and the Order of the Court:
The J.K. Rowling Copyright Case and the Question of Fair Use
Copyright is an important aspect of online life today, and not very many people understand it.
“The Internet is FREE”, they claim. “Everything on the Internet is free for the taking!”
No, not so much. Rule number one of Internet legalities: Just because someone posted it on the Internet doesn’t mean that there is no copyright or that the material is free to be shared/taken.
Fact is, the very act of writing something yourself gives you an automatic copyright to that material that YOU created. Let’s emphasize that YOU created portion again. It has to be original work from YOU for you to claim the copyright – and even then, you can only claim the copyright on the portion that YOU edited.
Even large mass-edited projects like Wikipedia have a copyright… but Wikipedia explicitly says that the individual Wikipedia editors can’t claim copyright on the text that is contributed directly to Wikipedia articles — just adding the text to Wikipedia grants Wikipedia a licence to make that text available for public use. (Content that is already copyrighted outside of Wikipedia and still contributed by the original author falls under a different set of copyright guidelines — be sure to read that WP article for all the copyright details that may pertain to you.)