Introduction to Digital Humanities

RELI/ENGL 39, Fall 2015, University of the Pacific

Be careful what you post!

In David Golumbia’s informational reading on privacy and digital citizenship, it was reinforced  multiple times that copyright infringement and plagiarism are real things that we need to be aware of. While many things in this article I felt were self explanatory, such as not simply taking an authors work without giving them credit, there are few pieces of information that I was not previously aware of before that interested me.

First, I did not know that there were ways to “override” a copyright. Golumbia talked about how if a copyrighted source is not published under a licence, it many times has a “fair use” exemption. That being said, if a copyrighted material is being used for educational or non-profit purposes, it most likely can be used. There are also three other exemptions: Nature (Whether the work is factual or creative) , how much you are going to take from the source, and if it is going to deprive the copyright owner of profit. These logistics were new to me but I deem them as pretty helpful!  I always assumed that if something was copyrighted that there was no wiggle room in using copyrighted material unless you asked permission by whoever owned the copy right. With these exemptions written out, it gives me, and I’m assuming a lot of other students at my level, more insight on what you can do.

Keep in mind that Golumbia also includes important logistics of what NOT to do that we don’t normally think about. For example, citing your sources is great, but not good enough to avoid copyright infringement. I feel that it is a common misconception to think this way and I’m glad  Golumbia included this and didn’t assume that the audience would already know this.


Bottom line, check, check, and triple check before using someone else’s work!


  1. I will admit that I do not know many of the finer details regarding copyright and the laws and precedents surrounding it, but I was also surprised that there seems to be a few ways to get around the fact something is copyrighted that will allow you to use it without giving credit. I know significantly more about the rules regarding plagiarism, as I have written many papers with countless citations to avoid this issue, and, as far as I know, for written work the fair use policy does not apply and you do have to cite. However, like you stated, citing is not always enough, in some cases, especially when you are posting something in the public domain that will be viewable to those who hold those copyrights.

    That fact leads me to an interesting point regarding copyright, and social media, that these articles prompted me to think about. I know many people who frequently repost pictures, memes, or blog posts on various forms of social media. The question is, does the use of this content fall under fair use, or is there really copyright infringement happening everyday on these sites? I think it is an interesting point to think about because on the surface it appears, at least in some cases, that there could be some form of copyright infringement taking place. Whether or not original authors and creators worry about social media reposting is something I would be interested to learn more about.

    Kyle C.

  2. I really like your post! I’m very against plagiarism and re-posting works (ex. original artwork or graphics online without proper sourcing) so this topic really interested me. Just like you, I also didn’t realize that a copyright could be “overridden,” and the factors relating to that were eye-opening.

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