This entire website, "," is copyrighted. The vast majority of text and images are duly registered with the U.S. Library of Congress, meaning that hefty punitive damages apply. Certain pieces copyrighted by other parties are used with permission. Additionally, various other parties have paid for the exclusive reproduction rights of certain works and may be aggressive in protecting those rights, i.e., they can and will sue for damages in federal court. After all, they have a cash incentive to protect their interests. For that matter, so do I. I do this for a living, and how would you like someone dipping into your paycheck?

So here's the deal: You may download images for individual viewing — except where noted — and you may even print them out to tack up on your computer or refrigerator door, but you may not reproduce those images for any other use. That means you may not use any of these images even for your own personal home page, blog, office newsletter, or customized greeting card without written permission. (Here's a simple analogy for the layman: Just because I invite you into my home, it doesn't mean you have the right to steal my belongings. To learn more about the philosophy of copyrights, click here.)

The web is a hybrid form of publishing and broadcasting, folks. Copying is stealing. It's like sneaking into a show without buying a ticket. It's exactly like that, in fact. Much of the law, for a long time, was not adapted to specify digital publishing, but the pirate days are over, thanks to new legislation and international treaty agreements. Not sure about that? You can look it up.

So play it safe. If you want to use anything, written or graphic, ask! It's not just the right thing to do, it's also good manners, which, in turn, are the backbone of civilization.