According to Princeton University’s WordNet, one definition for the word virtual is “being actually such in almost every respect“.
Considering this definition, does the “virtual world” we have created on the Internet give anyone and everyone the right to reproduce the work of others without permission? Can copyright laws be ignored as bloggers publish that which is actually such in EVERY respect? Photocritic International’s Allan Douglass Coleman’s describes his own personal experience with copyright infringement.
Using another Princeton definition of virtual “existing in essence or effect though not in actual fact” seems to be the more appropriate course for those interested in disseminating material. Bloggers provide a great service in generating interest, sharing information, and providing discussion forums. HOWEVER, while recognition and exposure of one’s work is appreciated, publishing verbatim essays, poems, and articles and duplicating photographs without the copyright holder’s authorization is not only illegal but irresponsible.
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