Ning strongly believes in the value of intellectual property and importance of protecting it. One of the ways that Ning helps intellectual property owners is to comply in all respects with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. As stated in our Terms of Service, Ning enforces its policy barring the upload of infringing material onto the Ning Service. We respect the rights of copyright owners and we ask that you do the same.
WHAT IS COPYRIGHT?
We strongly encourage Ning users and members to familiarize themselves with copyright law before creating and uploading materials to the service. We offer the following links to copyright law resources for informational purposes:
- U.S. Copyright Office – Copyright FAQs
- Stanford University Library – Copyright FAQs
- Nolo – Copyright Law
WHAT DOES COPYRIGHT PROTECT?
Copyright protects original works of creative expression that have been fixed in a tangible medium. This means that the expression must be independently created by the author and exist in a physical form for some duration of time. Just about any form of expression is protected, from poetry, paintings, recorded music and sculptures to video games, software code, choreography and architectural designs. Keep in mind, however, that copyright only applies to creative expressions, and does not protect the ideas or facts upon which the expression is based.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I UPLOAD MATERIALS TO NING WITHOUT THE RIGHT TO DO SO?
First of all, your Ning account can be terminated and you can be subject to a lawsuit from the copyright owner. Only the owner of a copyright or someone expressly authorized to make use of a work can exploit the right granted by the Copyright Act. If you’re not the creator of a work and don’t have authorization from the creator to make use of it, it’s likely that your use of the work is not authorized, and that means that you can’t upload it to Ning. If we receive a DMCA Notice that material you uploaded to Ning was posted without authorization, we will take the content down and notify you. If it happens on a repeated basis, pursuant to our Repeat Infringer policy, we’ll be forced to ban you from Ning.
Specifically, our Repeat Infringer policy requires us to remove content when we receive a DMCA Notice, or if we independently find material on the system that appears to be infringing. Unfortunately, if you accrue three strikes under this policy, we will be forced to terminate your account and prevent you from returning to Ning. We do not wish to do this, so we hope that you will refrain from posting any content to our system that you do not own or have authorization to post. Also, having read this, if it applies for any material that you have already uploaded to Ning, please remove it immediately.
ISN’T THERE A DOCTRINE CALLED “FAIR USE”?
Yes, there is. The Fair Use doctrine is a limited defense to a claim of copyright infringement that is based on the premise that the public is entitled to make certain socially beneficial uses of copyrighted works, such as for education, commentary or criticism. However, there are no set rules about what this fair use is, so it is very challenging to determine whether a use is “fair” in advance. Unfortunately, this means that many disputes over which uses are fair ones will end up in court, and if it turns out your guess is wrong, you will be liable for potentially significant damages. Please consult the following resources to learn more:
- U.S. Copyright Office – Fair Use
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation – Blogger’s FAQ
- Stanford University Libraries – Copyright & Fair Use
NING IS NOT YOUR LAWYER AND NOTHING CONTAINED HERE IS LEGAL ADVICE OF ANY KIND. NING HAS PROVIDED THIS COPYRIGHT FAQ FOR YOUR BASIC INFORMATION ONLY AND IT DOES NOT COVER IMPORTANT ISSUES THAT AFFECT YOUR USE OF CONTENT. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, YOU SHOULD SEEK YOUR OWN LEGAL COUNSEL.