Copyright questions

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    I have a plan to make my blog posts available for download as PDF documents, but I know very little about copyright issues (and the materials on the web are a bit overwhelming), and so I thought I just share my ideas here and get your feedback.

    Besides my honest desire to share my writings to as many people as possible, I plan to make my posts available for download as PDF docs because that will also be part of my promotion, both for my blog and Patreon page. They will contain some advertising in addition to the posts themselves.

    You see, I will give people the freedom to freely share the PDF docs, but without changing the contents, because I still want to reserve all my rights.

    And so my PDF docs may contain something like this:

    Copyright 2018 Arjay B. AraƱa
    All rights reserved.

    Permission to redistribute is hereby given:

    You may:
    – freely share this PDF document in any way you like
    – print all or any of its contents for personal use

    You may not:
    – change the content of this PDF document
    – republish all or any of its contents in any way
    – sell this PDF document

    And so my questions are:

    (1) Is there any problem with this plan? I seem to remember other people doing this kind of thing also.

    (2) Am I contradicting myself by allowing free redistribution but retaining all my rights?

    The blog I need help with is




    I’ve explored Creative Commons, and I think I’m going to use one of their licenses for my purpose.



    Hi there,

    Copyright applies automatically to anything you publish, but it’s still up to you to enforce it – if someone uses your content without permission and you don’t do anything about it, there’s no one else who will. And if you give permission for others to use your content, you can absolutely dictate the conditions under which they can do so.

    If you want to restrict usage of your content in any way, e.g. you can use it but you can’t change it or ask money for it, then publishing it under a license is the best way to go, and that’s exactly what Creative Commons exists for. It doesn’t change the fact that this is still your intellectual property, but it also allows for re-use under certain conditions, and gives you some measure of legal backing should you want to go after anyone for violating the terms of the license.

    Of course, exactly how this works in practice will depend on copyright laws where you live, so please understand what I said above just as a general guideline, and not legal advice :)



    Thanks @kokkieh for your reply.

    I’ve already applied the most restrictive of Creative Commons license to my blog: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivative.

    Though it’s still not as restrictive as I would like, I’ve realized that using a ready-made license by such an organization is the best way for me to go, especially because, as I’ve said, I know very little about the subject matter of copyright.

    The latest version of the license says “International”, and so I guess I am already nicely covered, as I live in the Philippines.

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