Copyright Infringement: Spain’s Don Quixote Versus Google’s Windmills

tilting at windmills - copyright infringement

Protect your website from those tilting at copyright infringement windmills

Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Quixote see them that he said to his squire, “Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them.” – Don Quixote

In Miguel de Cervantes’ novel “Don Quixote,” a fake Spanish knight fights against imaginary enemies, including windmills that he believes are giants. Let’s just say Don Quixote was reality-challenged.

It’s a nice reminder to website owners that there are crazy people out there who can and will harm you if you don’t take precautions. This includes insane politicians who don’t understand the purpose of laws that protect against copyright infringement.

For example, Spain’s got a new law that requires website owners to pay compensation when using a news snippet from a Spanish publisher. It doesn’t matter if you give full credit and hyperlink to drive traffic to the full news story on the publisher’s site.

Google is responding to this nonsense by shutting down Google News in Spain.

Until this all shakes out, avoid quoting from Spanish websites even if the site is written in English. If you’re going to quote more than a sentence or two from any other source, try to get written permission first. Some site owners don’t believe in “fair use” and will accuse you of copyright infringement even if you’re driving traffic their way.

Your Internet lawyer can review your website to see if you’ve got a copyright infringement or other legal issues that need to be fixed.

Illustration credit: Tilting at Windmills by Gustave Doré

Author Mike Young, Esq.

Mike Young has been practicing business and technology law since 1994 and is an angel investor in startups. He's been an entrepreneur since 1988. To get legal help from Attorney Young, click here now or call 214-546-4247 to schedule a phone consultation.

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