Since we've been discussing blogs a lot recently, it's probably a good idea to dispel many of the myths regarding copyright and copyright infringement. Because of these myths, many bloggers have accidentally (and sometimes intentionally) put themselves or their company in violation of copyright laws. This should help you avoid ending up in that situation.
Myth 1: I can use anything that doesn't have a copyright notice — That is incorrect. Anything from writing, to art to music is protected upon creation and the creator does not have to file for copyright protection, or even put a notice up.
Myth 2: Since it’s online, it's public domain and I can use it — That is incorrect also. The internet is just another medium, like television or radio, for people to transmit their message. Content on the internet is protected just the same as anywhere else.
Myth 3: I can use anything as long as I'm not profiting from it — Regardless of how you intend to use something that someone else created, you still need their express written consent. Besides, profit is a matter of perception. You may not be making any money from it, but you may be using it to promote an idea or belief which would be considered a benefit to you.
Myth 4: I can use anything as long as I give credit to the original creator or include the original creator's copyright notice — Same as above.
Myth 5: I can use anything as long as I take it down when the copyright holder objects — While you can try, we certainly don't advise it. You may get away with it in some cases but it is more likely that you will face hefty fines enforced by the court and be ordered to cease using it.
Someone worked hard to develop their content, whether it is writing, art, music or something else, and it’s not fair to them for you to use it with out their permission. Think of how you would feel as a clothing retailer if someone came into your store, took your inventory and then sold it or even gave it away — would you think it was ok as long as they told everyone where it came from or if they didn’t make any money?