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First of all, let's be real here. When all is said and done, I don't own - nor do I pretend to own - the copyrights to most of the images on my pages.

The true copyholders could shut me, and most every fan-based page on the Web, down with a single letter. It's happened before; it will happen again.

The reason most of these pages are still up is a grey area in copyright law called "fair use". Parody is clearly protected. Historical/educational use is pretty much protected. Using the copyrighted images of others for profit is not protected.

Well, I've yet to put up parody works. I'm absolutely not trying to make money here. I'm just trying to put up a little history and perspective on the subjects to which I dedicate pages.

In that effort, I put no small bit of work into writing the commentary for these pages. But, let's face it, no one wants to borrow my words here. (At least, not so far.)

The pics are another story altogether.

Like I said, I don't own the rights to them. If you want to download them off my page and use them on yours, there's nothing I can do to stop you.

I tend to think of this as an exercise not dissimilar to the essays we've all had to write in school. We've got a big library here on the Web and through other outlets. Unfortunately, we can't all have all the access we want immediately. The challenge though, isn't necessarily in acquiring everything that can be acquired. Sometimes what we do with what we have available is more interesting.

For one of my pages, the Superboy page, I've taken vidcaps from some of the episodes I'd taped while the show was on the air. I don't have all the shows, so I can't get all the snaps (courtesy of my Snappy video grabber) I'd like. Big deal, what I have, I've used to illustrate my commentary, and in turn adjusted my commentary to fit what pics I've been able to grab.

I'm sure many of you know the scenario. And I'm sure many of you know how time-consuming that process can be. Mind you, I had fun in the process, but still, the process entailed a lot of work on my part.

Call me petty if you will, but since I did the work - even though legally I don't own the pics - I feel protective of the results. If there is to be a benefit from all that work, I want the benefit to be primarily mine. Perhaps petty, I admit. But really, how many of us wouldn't feel that way at some level?

Ok, so I've admitted to being petty. I'm also understanding. In the case of Superboy - and for that matter, the other pages; though Superboy seems to be the big draw on my site - I know that not everyone who might wish to pay tribute to the show has had the opportunity to tape it as I have.

So, even though I don't want to do everyone's work for them (didn't in school - don't now), I don't mind lending a hand here and there. Only seems fair. People have helped me before; no reason to deny anyone the courtesy extended to me in the past. But I do have one concern about seeing the pics I've taken showing up all over the Web.

My greatest fear is that I will come across a website with most of my graphics - and that an unknowing Web surfer will first see those graphics there, then happen across my site, see the same images he/she saw before, and then become bored and leave before getting the whole picture of what I'm trying to put out there.

I know that the Web is a highly graphical medium, nonetheless, I still consider the commentary an important part of the historical perspective I've mentioned above.

To protect my "big picture", then, I've asked and will continue to ask anyone that wants to borrow images from my site to honor the following requests (based on the courtesy I'd give anyone I'd ask for a similar favor):

Ask first.

Please take no more than three pics.

Mention my site somewhere if possible.

Let me know your URL - I'd be interested in seeing what you have to say.

As I said, I can't enforce these requests. I certainly can't hire a lawyer to defend something I don't own. I'm not trying to be unreasonable here and I think most of you understand - or will, as you build your sites, understand.

The Web is a big place - there's plenty of room for all of us. This is just my way of trying to keep my "voice" my own, as I would try to help others keep their unique "voices" their own.

I look forward to viewing all of your sites, please feel free to drop back in on mine.


March 16, 1998

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