Thursday, January 22, 2015

Copyrights on the Internet

I put this picture on the Internet without a copyright notice, so you can use it however you want, right?


Posting something on the Internet does not change its copyright status any more than publishing it in a magazine does. And the current copyright law doesn’t require either registration or a copyright notice.

I took the photo last summer while driving through Utah. It was copyrighted the instant I took it, and I don’t lose the copyright by posting it on the Internet.

Although a copyright notice isn’t necessary, it does inform the reader who might otherwise copy out of ignorance. I don’t include a formal copyright notice with each individual post on my personal blog, but the site itself contains this warning:

The material on this blog is copyrighted unless otherwise noted. You do not need permission to include links to this blog. To ask permission for other uses, contact me at [e-mail address].

Ignorance is no excuse, of course, and it won’t protect you if someone charges you with copyright infringement for the material you use on your blog or anywhere else. So don’t use anything you are unsure about. With a few exceptions that are beyond the scope of this post, you should get permission to use any material that is not clearly in the public domain. This includes photos and artwork and text and even music.

So what material is clearly in the public domain?

  • Material that was published in the United States before 1923. Works that were created or first published in another country may have a longer copyright in those countries, so you may have to be careful about distribution. Some material published after 1923 is also in the public domain, but that is more complicated to figure out.
  • Material produced by federal government employees in the course of their official duties. This includes opinions issued by federal courts and reports and photographs created by employees of federal agencies.
  • Material that cannot be copyrighted, such as names and titles, short phrases and slogans, ideas, and facts. However, names and titles and short phrases and slogans can become trademarks, which entitles them to a different kind of protection. And although ideas and facts cannot be copyrighted, the expression describing them can be.

Some creators waive the copyright by marking their material with “no rights reserved.” Whether this actually puts the material in the public domain depends on the jurisdiction. At the least, however, it gives the public a blanket permission to use the material. Still, it is best not to rely on the “no rights reserved” tag unless you have good reason to believe that it was added by the person who would otherwise own the copyright.

But, you ask, aren’t there some situations where I can use copyrighted material without getting permission? Of course there are. It’s called “fair use.”
That will be the subject of next month’s post.


Kathryn Page Camp is a licensed attorney and full-time writer. Her most recent book, Writers in Wonderland: Keeping Your Words Legal (KP/PK Publishing 2013), is a Kirkus’ Indie Books of the Month Selection. Kathryn is also the author of In God We Trust: How the Supreme Court’s First Amendment Decisions Affect Organized Religion (FaithWalk Publishing 2006) and numerous articles. You can learn more about Kathryn at

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What C. S. Lewis Means to Me

By Kelly Bridgewater

For the entire year of 2015, I have come up with a theme for my posts. I plan to share how twelve different writers have inspired me and are the ones I return to when I need some inspiration. As readers, we have loved the words written by authors who have spoken to us through their stories. It could have happened as a child or as an adult.

My first author on this journey that I want to travel with you is none other than the one of the greatest Christian writers of the past. Have an idea? If you cheated, his name is in the title of this blog post. J

C. S. LewisC.S. Lewis.

What does C.S. Lewis’ writing mean to me? It started when I was a little girl. My father handed me a copy of Prince Caspian, and I was transported to Narnia on the wings of my imagination. I loved Lucy, the curious little girl who saw the best in everyone. She didn’t have a mean thing to say about anyone, except when Edmund picked on her. She had the faith of a child and still believed in Aslan, even when everyone didn’t believe he would come back.

I loved the landscape of a land that you were transported to through magical portals, either a wardrobe, a train station, a picture, a ring, or a jump off a high cliff. The entryway was never the same twice. Lewis did a good job at holding the readers’ attention as we waited with anticipation to see how our familiar characters were going to be transported back to Narnia.

I loved a land filled with magic and talking creatures. Who could forget the talking beavers that helped Lucy, Peter, Susan, and Edmund in The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe? Or Tumnas, the half goat, half man, or a faun as the story lovingly refers to him, who sacrificed his life to keep the two daughters of Eve and two sons of Adam safe because he believed in a free Narnia?

File:TheLionWitchWardrobe(1stEd).jpgAs a writer, C.S. Lewis has taught me how to create a story using imagination to share the wonderful story of Jesus Christ and his saving power. My imagination is my best tool to create a story that allows my future readers to connect with the characters occupying the pages of my story.  Using my imagination, I can sprinkle in clues to Jesus without overwhelming the readers with the Biblical lesson.

As I got older, I have read a majority of Lewis’ others stories, fiction or non-fiction. I have read a good chunk of his literary criticism. He has such passion for the written word. In graduate school, I wrote two different papers using C.S. Lewis’ writing as the basis for my papers. One was a compare and contrast between Paradise Lost by John Milton and Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. Second paper, I argued that even though The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe as a Biblical allegory is a valued way to look at the story, Lewis actually created it as a fairy tale, which I proved.

C.S. Lewis taught me the love of creating stories with my imagination and the ability to create a passion for the written word. He is one of my favorite writers who I return to when I want a good read to explore Narnia or learn more about something in the literary field. No wonder still today, fifty-one years after his death, his books still capture the imagination of new generations and are placed in the hollow shelves of our local libraries.

Have you read C.S. Lewis books? If so, what is some of you favorite books? What has he taught you as a writer and a reader?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Freely give

“…Freely you have received, freely give.” Matt. 10:8b (NKJV)

I intended to finish out 2014 with a few of my favorite things about writing beginning in September, specifically the following four things:

  1.     Closeness
  2.     Freedom
  3.     Research
  4.     Sharing

I had some technical issues and missed November, so I’m wrapping up the list today with number 4 - Sharing.

So to recap, writing, painting with words, draws me close to my Lord and Savior. And when Jesus is near, I experience freedom from all the cares and concerns that inevitably try to weigh me down.

With Him close, when I’m free from the noisy voices that want to steal my peace, I can seek and find anything. With His help I can uncover all the big, and little, nuggets of information I feel I need to make my stories plausible and interesting. He’s so good.
Learning new things energizes me more than a double espresso. Although I must say that would probably come in a close second. It’s all well and good to increase knowledge, but learning something valuable and not sharing it with somebody was never God’s intention. Writing is a great way to share what you’ve learned, but since writing full-time is not yet possible for me I’m convinced God has placed me in exactly the right workplace with the right people.

I’ve mentioned before that I work in a library. I have found that people who work in a library tend to love learning new things, and sharing that knowledge with anyone who will listen. In other words, I’m not the only one! I’m in good company.

That said it’s truly commendable how the ladies that I work with most closely will actually listen to me when I tell them yet another thing I discovered, and how much more awesome this thing is than the thing I “wowed” them with last time. They are so kind to at least pretend to be interested.

But I just can’t help myself! I want to talk about things I’ve learned especially if I suspect those things could benefit the person with whom I speaking. What God has freely given to me, I feel compelled to pass along.

Things like, did you know if you place a freshly sliced onion on a bee sting immediately after it happens and leave it there for 10 minutes, the juice from the onion will draw the poison from the bite? There will be no welt and it will not itch. It’s that cool? You can’t keep something like that to yourself. Right?
I could write a ton more words about all sorts of things I’ve learned, but they might be things you don’t care to know. And after all, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Prov. 25:11 (NKJV) So just suffice it to say, I like sharing what I know and with God’s wisdom I’ll share it at the right time.

While I haven’t shared much specifically, I believe I have made my point and it’s time to let you go do something you love now.

Humbly submitted by H.T. Lord

Monday, January 12, 2015

Just Browsing

By Darren Kehrer

Technology...we all love it when it works, but want to throw it out the window when it doesn't. It can make our lives better and it can complicate our lives beyond belief.

I would wager that all of us use the Internet every day, multiple times a day, and some of us every minute of every day. To that end, we all use Internet browsers to "surf" the web: Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, and Chrome seem to be the 4 most of us use on a regular basis. 

Website standards are always changing. Hackers are always trying to find another way into your computer through your browser. The technology powers that be are always updating their browsers to stay ahead of (or react to) those hackers and to make sure the websites you visit look and feel the way the designers intended.

Keeping your browser up to date is an easy defense against drive-by attacks (meaning your computer could possibly be compromised just by visiting a malicious website). Most browsers have a built-in update function to either manually update or automatically update once updates become available. This function either happens when your computer checks for updates (Apple Safari and Microsoft Internet Explorer) or there is a drop down menu button that allows you access to this function (Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox).

Everyone has a favorite browser. At times, I've found a website that only works with (or works better) with another browser; therefore, I keep 2 browsers on my computer to have a backup in case I need it.

It's safe to say that the computer you are using right now either came with Apple Safari or Microsoft Interenet Explorer as a default. I would suggest you either keep Firefox or Chrome as a secondary browser, should you run accross a website that requires a different browser than the one you are using.

As a side and final note, be sure to keep your installed plugins up to date as well (flash player, adobe reader, etc) as that is another avenue that malicious websites can use to access your computer or even plant something nasty).

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Take Out the Dull Parts

A great story is life with the dull parts taken out.--Alfred Hitchcock

I came across that quote in my notes from a workshop that James Scott Bell led at the 2011 ACFW Conference. Hitchcock gave us a surefire way to achieve great storytelling: Just cut out the dull parts. The dull parts of life have...
  • No conflict
  • No internal pressure
  • No trouble (Scenes that depict "Happy people in happy land.")
  • No fear
On that last point, Bell said, "Remember there is a continuum of fear, from minor worry to sheer terror. Fear of the unknown and fear of the known. In this respect, every scene in a great story involves some kind of fear. If not, it's dull. So it has to go."

That seems rather harsh, don't you think?

Well, think back to one of the classic films of Christmas that have been running in recent weeks: A Christmas Carol, It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone, or (my favorite) that 1950s nostalgia trip, A Christmas Story. Remember an iconic scene from any of those movies. Now ask yourself, Did that scene have any of the 4 "dull parts" that James Scott Bell listed? Probably not.

Those classic movies may have had some dull parts, originally, but they wound up on the director's cutting-room floor. That's what made them great. 


Joe Allison and his wife, Judy, live in Anderson IN, where Joe serves as Editorial Director of Discipleship Resources & Curriculum for Warner Press, Inc. Joe has several nonfiction books in print, including Swords and Whetstones: A Guide to Christian Bible Study Resources. He's currently writing a trilogy of Christian historical novels set in the Great Depression.

Visit Joe's blog at