Standard disclaimer: I am not an attorney, and any comments in this or any other blog post of mine is not intended as, nor should it be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, hire a lawyer who specializes in the kind of law you need advice on.
While turning off the option to allow re-blogging won’t stop people from re-blogging your posts, it will make it a bit harder to do so. I ran across one blogger who doesn’t mind you re-blogging as long as you don’t have ads on your blog, even if you don’t get any money from the ads. They are also against your site having any kind of income generating on it which includes affiliate links. It’s funny that this blogger is sponsored by a large corporate sponsor. The blogger also ignores the “fair use” doctrine of U. S. copyright and the blogger is a U. S. blogger since there are ways somebody can rightfully use “fair use” to get around the blogger’s restrictions. A different blogger has another restriction that can easily be gotten around; the blogger doesn’t allow derivative works of any photos she adds to her blog. While that works for many derivative works, there are copyright exceptions that allow derivative works in certain specific instances.
How to turn off re-blogging depends on your blogging platform. In WordPress, it’s near the bottom of this link: https://en.support.wordpress.com/reblogs/.
Yes, if you decide you would rather not offer the option to reblog your post, you can disable the button by navigating to Sharing → Sharing Buttons.
Disable Show reblog button under Reblog & Like and the Reblog button will no longer appear on your blog posts. Likewise, if you later decide you would like to offer users the option to reblog your content, you can enable the feature.
That won’t stop re-blogging since a blogger can re-blog your post through a link to your post and make it look like it’s a re-blog. I won’t go into more details, but it’s not that hard.
If someone really wants to re-blog your post, they will find a way. Under U. S. copyright, an easy workaround is the parody exception. It’s one reason you see things like this on YouTube (warning YouTube Hitler Rants Parodies link; definitely Not Suitable For Work (NSFW) and plenty of strong profanity although it’s usually in the sub-titles/captioning): https://www.youtube.com/user/hitlerrantsparodies. Under U. S. copyright, https://www.copyright.gov/fair-use/, which Wikipedia does a better job of explaining than I could easily find on the Copyright Office‘s website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use#Parody.
Producers or creators of parodies of a copyrighted work have been sued for infringement by the targets of their ridicule, even though such use may be protected as fair use. These fair use cases distinguish between parodies, which use a work in order to poke fun at or comment on the work itself and satire, or comment on something else. Courts have been more willing to grant fair use protections to parodies than to satires, but the ultimate outcome in either circumstance will turn on the application of the four fair use factors.
There’s no guarantee you will win a parody exception lawsuit, but if you understand and correctly apply the four (4) guidelines under17 USC 107, you are more likely to prevail if you are sued. NOTE: nonprofit educational purposes can sometimes easily be defeated by a copyright holder if your site has any sort of donate now, affiliate links, or ads even if the ads don’t generate money for your organization. For example, genealogy on your website that has no ads, affiliate links, etc. is a much better “fair use” defense than posting the same copyrighted material citing “fair use” to Ancestry.com or YouTube which is a for-profit company.
- the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- the nature of the copyrighted work;
- the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
There are plenty of people citing “fair use” exception on Ancestry.com, Find-A-Grave, YouTube, and other social media sites where it’s not a “fair use” exclusion. Usually, number 3 above and possibly number 1 above will be why something doesn’t fall under “fair use” exception. While there isn’t a hard and fast rule as to how much of the work you can get away with using under “fair use,” there tends to be a basic general definition that it’s not a large amount of the work. From the court cases I have seen, maybe a few small selections out of a book, but it’s very rare that 10% of the work would be a safe amount to risk a lawsuit if the work is of any decent size. I cite 10% because I have seen numerous non-lawyers throw out this number as a safe percentage. When I used quotes for my undergraduate and graduate thesis papers, I used very small snippets of a work to make my point. In those cases, I tended to go with the minimum that supported or challenged a point I was making.
My philosophy is to reduce the risk of being sued for copyright infringement. It’s not a guarantee that I won’t be sued, but it reduces the likelihood of losing a copyright lawsuit. There are lawyers who will file a ton of copyright violation lawsuits on the off-chance they can either get a settlement or win in court. My go-to is this blogger, https://nelsonagency.com/2012/07/blogging-authors-beware-you-can-get-sued-roni-loren-guest-blogs/, who was sued because they thought they knew copyright, but it doesn’t appear they did any research before getting sued. After reading what happened to them, it made me dig deeply into the Copyright Office’s website, various attorney bloggers who were worked the copyright lawsuits on both sides of the aisle, and numerous court cases involving copyright.
Another reason to be aware of copyright involves website Terms of Service (TOS), sometimes called Terms and Conditions (T&C), or something similar. Here’s Ancestry.com’s T&C: https://www.ancestry.com/cs/legal/termsandconditions.
Check out the following:
10. Your Indemnity
You agree that you will indemnify and hold Ancestry, our employees, and our agents harmless from any claims, damages, or other expenses (including attorney’s fees) that result from your use of the Services and (a) your violation of these Terms or other documents incorporated herein by reference; (b) your violation of another person’s rights; or (c) any claim related to your User Provided Content, including a claim that your User Provided Content caused damage to another person. This indemnification obligation will continue after you stop using the Services. In addition, you release Ancestry from all claims, demands, actions, or suits in connection with your User Provided Content, including any liability related to our use or non-use of your User Provided Content, claims for defamation, invasion of privacy, right of publicity, emotional distress or economic loss.
Down towards the bottom:
Injunctive Relief: If you use the Services in violation of these Terms, you agree that we are entitled to any injunctive remedy or an equivalent type of urgent legal relief in the appropriate jurisdiction.
The above could include you covering Ancestry‘s legal fees if your actions result in Ancestry.com seeking legal advice from their attorneys.
Here’s YouTube‘s take on copyright: https://www.youtube.com/intl/en-GB/yt/about/copyright/.