More often than ever I’ve seen my work resurface on websites, in brochures and in other areas.

While it’s flattering, it’s quite frustrating because most of the time I never knew it was there until I just happened to come across it.

I was never asked, and usually neither my name nor The Gazette-Virginian is ever listed as a way to give credit.

It gives the illusion that that person could have created the content whether it is photos or all the words from an article.

I’ve been told it’s illegal, and my knowledge of media law is very rusty, but I figured it was.

The U.S. Copyright Office says, “Permission to use copyrighted material must be secured directly from the owner of copyright or the owner’s authorized agent.

“The copyright owner has the exclusive right to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted works and to display the copyrighted work publicly. 

“Engaging in either of these activities without a license or permission of the copyright owner would generally constitute a copyright violation, unless an exemption applies.”

The statutory exemptions are available on the website,

For those visual artists, namely painters, sculptors and architects the Artists Rights Society (ARS) says, “Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) to the creators of ‘original works of authorship,’ including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and certain other intellectual works.”

Their website says a work of art is protected from copyright from the time the work is created in fixed, tangible form.

Seems like all of us creators are in luck.

To be honest, I don’t really mind people using my work, but it would be nice to be asked, or to see my name or The Gazette-Virginian, even if in small print.

Just give credit where credit is due, that’s all I’m asking.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at

Ashley Hodge is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at