Notes from the Author
Building your own homepage?
Use proper Internet etiquette...
I frequently get emails from people who are building sites of
their own and would like advice about how to go about it or permission to use
some of the material from my site. There is a special page for copyright
issues related to Using Material from ReelClassics.com, but here are some more
practical guidelines to keep in mind:
1. Always ask.
No matter whose page you are visiting or what the
circumstances, you should always ask before taking any material from anyone
else's site for use on your own. Pictures, text, audio clips,
anything. Taking material without asking is not only very bad manners,
and although in many instances, there is little the original owners can do to
stop you, frequently the internet community into which you will wish to ingratiate
yourself will instead ostracize you and refuse to link to your site.
Taking material without asking is a great way to make enemies quickly, so save
yourself headaches later and don't do it.
2. Always give credit where credit is due.
Even if you've gotten permission from someone to use their
material on your site, don't forget to give them proper credit. Just
because you have permission to use it, doesn't mean that all of a sudden it's
become your material. Linking back to the source site or providing an email link to the
contributor are both good ways of crediting other sources. Or, if your
source was a book or magazine that can't be linked to, at least footnote where
the material came from--title, author, date, etc.
3. Be original.
No one wants to visit a site that doesn't have any
original content. If all you do is take stuff (pictures
especially) from other sites and rearrange it, you haven't
contributed anything. Why should people visit your site
when everything you've got can be seen somewhere else? So
how to make your site original, especially when you're not
sure you have much original content to add? A few DOs
DO include your own opinions in your site, especially commentary about
your favorites or why you like someone or don't like someone else. Not
everyone has the time or inclination to research and come up with authentic
historical information that's not available elsewhere on the net, so if you
fall into this category, make your site original by giving your perspective
DO create a unique look for your site, including backgrounds, color
schemes, fonts, etc. Make your site easily identifiable so a visitor
will be able to recognize it and say, "Oh, I've been here
before." Or, if you have different pages about multiple people or
movies, make them similar enough that someone who finds your, say, John
Wayne page, will go ahead and take a look because they remember what a good
job you did on your Bette Davis page.
DON'T take benchmark logos or opening photos that are the identifying feature of someone else's
site; in other words, don't use the same image at the first of your page that someone else
does-- even if they reluctantly give you permission to
use it. An opening image is part of what identifies one site as being different from another, and to use the same one as someone else is "bad manners"--for lack of a better term.
Again, the key idea here is ORIGINAL CONTENT.
If you take material from other people's sites and don't add
anything of your own, or if your site looks too much like
someone else's, people won't want to visit it. AND you
won't get as many visitors because your fellow classic movie webmasters
might refuse to
link to you (especially if you've taken material without
asking). Thus, the traffic that could be generated from
other related sites won't happen. That's fine if
you don't care whether anyone sees your site or not, but then
again, if that's the case, why bother to build a website to
If you have questions or comments about these guidelines, please let me
know. And I'm happy to help people try to meet them as well. If you
have a site and you'd like to my advice on how to make sure it's unique, let me know the address and I'd be happy to check
-- Elizabeth, November 9, 1999
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