Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Do the [Copy]Right Thing

    One question that we get often enough concerns how the resources that we provide can be used. Our answer is that you can use anything that you find in the J. S. Paluch Subscriber Resource Center (SRC) for any parish bulletin, publication, or web page as long as you don’t sell it. So, for example, you can put it in your parish newsletter, but not in a parish cookbook that you are selling to raise money. The only other condition is that you retain the copyright notice that appears with the resource, whether it’s an image or a text file. Don’t delete it or crop it out. These notices let readers know who owns the rights to that item. You’d be surprised how many reprint requests we get for our material because someone has seen something of ours and identified us as the holder of the rights to it. These notices also give credit to other authors and rights-holders when the material is something that we have obtained permission from someone else for you to use in your parish publications. It is only fair to them that you include the copyright that identifies their work or property.

    On a related note, we know that our bulletin editors like to use art and resources from many other sources, especially things that you find online. And we will print whatever you put in your bulletins. But you must take responsibility for finding out who owns the rights to that material and under what conditions they permit you to use it. Sometimes they will grant you permission for free, perhaps only for one-time use. Sometimes you will be asked to pay to use something from another source in your bulletin. You should do so gladly; someone has put effort into creating an image or an article, and they should be compensated for their work. This also means that if you see something that has a copyright notice on it and you can’t track down the owner for permission, it is better not to use it in your bulletin. Even works that you see online without a copyright notice should be treated carefully and the owner soughtsomeone else may have deleted the notice! You can’t assume that you have blanket permission to use any art or words that you want just because you’re putting them in a church publication. If you have any doubt at all about your ability to use an item in your parish publications, err on the side of caution and leave it out. Yes, it takes more time and trouble to track down copyright holders and request reprint permission, but in the end it is always best to be honest and do the [copy]right thing.

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