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BROADCASTING INTERNET MATERIAL

QUESTION FOR DAN O’DAY:

I have a question about things posted on the internet. There are hundreds of various "humor sites" out there. Most of them have really funny lists or quizzes or what not, my question is: Is it OK to use that stuff on the air, or is it all copyrighted? How does that work? Is anything that is available on the web free to use however we want?

DAN REPLIES:

One of the big problems of those humor sites is you usually have no way of knowing where the material originated. Maybe the site's creator made it all up and posted it without limitation.

Or maybe that person ripped it off from last night’s TONIGHT SHOW monologue. Or scanned a funny magazine article.

Or, even more likely, maybe that person is reprinting something he or she received from someone else via the Internet...and has no idea where it came from.

If a copyright notice is present at the web site, referring to the materials contained therein, then clearly you should NOT broadcast it.

If you innocently broadcast material that you received as "public domain" (i.e., not copyrighted) material but which, in fact, IS copyrighted, I don’t think you’re in much legal jeopardy. The most you might expect is a formal notice, demanding that you cease violating the copyright.

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