Clearing Up Some Confusion

I’ve been thinking about this post for a long time, wondering if I should really go ahead and write it, and it seems like a good idea that I do it.

Running a business like mine is interesting. On one hand, I do not need a warehouse or inventory, which greatly simplifies my business; on the other hand, the items I sell could be passed around and used by multiple people without me knowing.

Every time one of you places an order, there’s trust on both sides. On your side, you are trusting that buying from me is safe and that the items I sell are worth the money. Unlike something you buy in a store, you can’t pick it up or look at it first.

On my side, I am trusting that you are going to use the PDFs or CD-ROM only for yourself, and not share or re-sell it. That’s a bit of a leap of faith on my part.

In the past few months I have found out about several copyright violations: one person was trying to sell one of my CD-ROMs on Craigslist, another on eBay, and a third person had uploaded some of my files to a file-sharing service where anyone could download them.

In the cases of the eBay and Craigslist auctions, I was able to get the auctions taken down because they were in violation of my copyright. I was also able to have the files removed from the file-sharing service for the same reason. However it is time-consuming for me to have to take this kind of action and I cringe every time I find out about something like this.

I realize that most of the time when someone tries to share or sell my PDFs, it is because they truly don’t know that it’s wrong to do so. Perhaps they have not read my Terms of Use or they don’t understand how copyright works. That’s one of the reasons I’m writing this post – simply to educate everyone so that we all understand the rules.

My PDFs are protected under intellectual copyright. This is different from the kind of copyright you might have over the design of a lamp or a sweater. Those items can only be used by one person at a time. You can sell them if you decide you don’t want to use them anymore. In the case of intellectual copyright, where something could be copied over and over again and used by many people at once, only the copyright holder is allowed to sell the items.

My entire site is copyrighted, which means that blog posts, articles, pictures, and any other material on the site also cannot be used without permission. Sometimes it’s easy to think that anything on the internet is sort of “fair game” to use as desired but that is not true.

I’d like to boil this down to two easy rules:

1. My PDFs and CD-ROMs cannot be re-sold or shared with others. They are for personal use only.

2. My entire site – including the free PDFs – is copyrighted by me and nothing can be used without permission.

This even includes my free PDFs. They cannot be uploaded to your site or blog or file-sharing service. Just link to my Free Downloads page(s) if you want to mention or promote them. If you would like to use one of my articles or blog posts at your site or in a school newsletter, you need to ask first. (Short quotations are fine without permission as long as you attribute it to Montessori for Everyone).

If you see anyone using my PDFs or any of my site content without permission, please let me know. That way instead of one set of eyes keeping tabs on the internet, there will be thousands. Several of you have let me know of copyright violations you’ve found in the past and I greatly appreciate it.

As you can imagine I’ve poured thousands of hours into my site and my materials. I have been as generous as possible, sharing free materials, keeping my prices super low, and trying to make my blog and site the best Montessori resource on the internet. With your help I can continue to do so.