If you’re not subscribed to various useful blogs on TechRepublic, you should be. I get a great deal of information from that source.
For those who may not be subscribed, or who haven’t seen it yet, let me recommend Video: Three ways you might be breaking the law with your computer (there’s also a text version, but the video is reasonably short and efficient).
As a publisher, I’m unusually conscious of copyright law, but I find that very few people are. In text materials, they are not concerned about lifting a few pages that “expresses their thought better than they could” with either minimal or even no attribution at all. Fortunately, editors and other professionals in the publishing industry are more concerned.
But online there are often no such constraints. As the video points out, law enforcement is getting more serious about copyright infringement. I think there will have to be a balance here, because the law is not keeping up with the realities of the internet age, and I think folks in the music industry, for example, are actually doing themselves harm with some of their efforts. Nonetheless, there must be some form of protection so that artists, authors, and developers can maintain an appropriate level of control over their work.
And irrespective of your view on just where the lines should be drawn and how precise they should be, the law is the law, and you can get in trouble. IT managers should check out the video. I’ll pass it to my customers.