Thursday, April 10, 2008

10 Big Myths about copyright explained

10 Big Myths about copyright explained. Here is the first three. 


Please see the original article for the rest.  Is this news, well depends on how you look at it.  If you have never seen this article and you learn something.  It is news to you.


1) "If it doesn't have a copyright notice, it's not copyrighted."


This was true in the past, but today almost all major nations follow the Berne copyright convention. For example, in the USA, almost everything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989 is copyrighted and protected whether it has a notice or not. The default you should assume for other people's works is that they are copyrighted and may not be copied unless you know otherwise. There are some old works that lost protection without notice, but frankly you should not risk it unless you know for sure.


It is true that a notice strengthens the protection, by warning people, and by allowing one to get more and different damages, but it is not necessary. If it looks copyrighted, you should assume it is. This applies to pictures, too. You may not scan pictures from magazines and post them to the net, and if you come upon something unknown, you shouldn't post that either.


The correct form for a notice is:


"Copyright [dates] by [author/owner]"


You can use C in a circle © instead of "Copyright" but "(C)" has never been given legal force. The phrase "All Rights Reserved" used to be required in some nations but is now not legally needed most places. In some countries it may help preserve some of the "moral rights."


2) "If I don't charge for it, it's not a violation."


False. Whether you charge can affect the damages awarded in court, but that's main difference under the law. It's still a violation if you give it away -- and there can still be serious damages if you hurt the commercial value of the property. There is a USA exception for personal copying of music, which is not a violation, though courts seem to have said that doesn't include widescale anonymous personal copying as Napster. If the work has no commercial value, the violation is mostly technical and is unlikely to result in legal action. Fair use determinations (see below) do sometimes depend on the involvement of money.


3) "If it's posted to Usenet it's in the public domain."


False. Nothing modern and creative is in the public domain anymore unless the owner explicitly puts it in the public domain(*). Explicitly, as in you have a note from the author/owner saying, "I grant this to the public domain." Those exact words or words very much like them.




What is Fair Use?



Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as use for scholarship or review. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test. It is based on free speech rights provided by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The term "fair use" is unique to the United States; a similar principle, fair dealing, exists in some other common law jurisdictions. Civil law jurisdictions have other limitations and exceptions to copyright.




Digital Millennium Copyright Act



The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law which implements two 1996 WIPO treaties. It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services that are used to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works (commonly known as DRM) and criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, even when there is no infringement of copyright itself. It also heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. Passed on October 12, 1998 by a unanimous vote in the United States Senate and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 28, 1998, the DMCA amended title 17 of the U.S. Code to extend the reach of copyright, while limiting the liability of Online Providers from copyright infringement by their users.


On May 22, 2001, the European Union passed the EU Copyright Directive or EUCD, which addresses some of the same issues as the DMCA. But the DMCA's principal innovation in the field of copyright, the exemption from direct and indirect liability of internet service providers and other intermediaries (Title II of the DMCA), was separately addressed, and largely followed, in Europe by means of the separate Electronic Commerce Directive.




10 Big Myths about Copyright

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