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It is a lot easier to copy the work of others than it is to research a topic from scratch. But if that is done without the permission of the original author, such usage is copyright theft, defined by international laws which are recognized by almost every country. The USA recognizes the copyright ownership of books, magazine articles, WWW text, etc, by Canadian authors and vice-versa. 

If no copyright legislation was in place, no author could earn a living. Yet many individuals and groups feel that the Internet should be free of regulations. They re-publish other authors' text without permission.

We occasionally run across written material on the Internet that we recognize as originating from our own web site. Sometimes they are direct copies; other times, they delete a few of our words and add a few of their own.  We usually write the other Webmaster a letter asking that they acknowledge our copyright and reimburse us for lost income. We base our financial request on $1.00 in U.S. funds per 1,000 impressions of their copy; this is the approximate revenue loss that we experience from the loss of our banner ads.

By mid 2000, the problem seems to have escalated, so we started to keep records of unauthorized copying:

Group Offending URL From our essay Current status
Cult Awareness and Information Centre  on the Occult Emailed on 2000-JUL-21; No response
The Muslim Coalition on Islam Emailed on 2000-JUL-25; They will correct ASAP
Entertainment on the Web on Islam Emailed on 2000-JUL-25; Received letter asking that we prove our copyright.
Jim Jems Castle on Sikhism No action taken.
Muslim Student Association, University of New Orleans 

on Islam and Muslim resolution Emailed on 2000-AUG-3;
Received Email promising fix.

Note: "No response" by the offending webmaster is not necessarily an indication that he/she is ignoring our request. There is a very remote possibility that they did not receive our Email, and that we did not receive a "not deliverable" message.

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In recent years, we have largely given up tracking copyright theft of our web site. Our prime motivation is to spread accurate information, and so web sits that steal our content are simply disseminating information more widely. However, our site, office, and part-time paid staff member cost a lot of money. We will defend our copyright if any material of ours is published elsewhere and reduces our revenue significantly.

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Copyright 2000 to 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2000-JUL-21
Latest update: 2006-APR-05
Author: B.A. Robinson

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