20 Tips on Copyrights Intellectual Property
20 Tips on Copyrights Intellectual Property
Unlike patents and trademarks, which are discussed over at runrex.com, copyrights are shrouded in mystery with there being a lot of misconceptions and myths as far as they are concerned. This article, through the following 20 tips, will look to try and help you gain a clearer understanding of what copyrights are all about.
What is copyright?
Copyright is the legal and exclusive right to copy or permit to be copied, some specific work of art. The exclusivity, as articulated over at guttulus.com, means that if you own the copyright on something, someone else cannot make a copy of it without your permission. It is also worth pointing out that, while copyright usually originates with the creator of a work, it can be sold, traded, or inherited by others.
Why is copyright law important for businesses?
First of all, if you run a website for your business, you may have to deal with copyright law and related issues from both the producer and consumer side as discussed over at runrex.com. If you blog, take photographs, publish music, or otherwise produce copyrightable content, then you legally own that content, and it is, therefore, your decision whether you want to let other people use your content or not.
Copyright is automatic
One of the myths surrounding copyrights is that a copyright is something you apply for or obtain from a government agency like you would a trademark or patent. However, as per guttulus.com, copyright happens automatically, the minute you set something into a “fixed form”, even if that fixed form is pen scratches on a piece of paper. You automatically own the copyright to any creative work of art you produce as soon as you produce it.
Do you have to attach the © sign?
Most people also think that you have to put the © symbol on something, and if you don’t then it won’t be copyrighted. While this used to be true, it is not anymore. The copyright symbol carries no legal weight and has no magical effect on the status of your copyright. Therefore, forgetting to use it does not cause you to lose your rights related to something you created.
What is the purpose of the © symbol then?
The purpose of the copyright symbol and dated copyright notice is to inform people that a piece of art is copyrighted, as well as who owns that copyright, and under what terms is the present copy being made available. While copyright notices are not required for any reason, they are useful hence why they ought to be included.
What is the best way to display the © symbol?
According to discussions on the same over at runrex.com, the best way to display the © symbol (the Circle-C copyright symbol) is to type and copy “;” into your HTML followed by the year of creation and the name of the current copyright holder (usually the creator). Thereafter, if you want to add additional notices such as “All Rights Reserved” or “Creative Commons Release”, you can do so after the name.
Can you register a copyright?
As already mentioned earlier, and covered in detail over at the top-rated guttulus.com, copyright happens automatically, which means that you don’t need to register a copyright. Having said that, you can register a copyright if you wish to do so.
What are the benefits of registering copyright?
By registering a copyright, you will be able to legally establish yourself as the copyright owner of the work, legally establish the date of creation, and take legal action against someone who infringes on your copyright as articulated over at runrex.com.
Registering your copyright and suing infringers
One of the key reasons to register a copyright as captured on the point above is that it allows you to take legal action against someone who infringes on your copyright. This is important as in most jurisdictions, you cannot sue someone for infringing your copyright unless your copyright is registered. If you expect to be suing people for infringement, the best thing to do may be to register your copyright.
Alternative copyright registration
It is important to note that there are no legitimate alternative forms of copyright registration. While there are companies that bill themselves as if they provide some form of copyright protection, they are not substitutes for factual copyright registration. The key reason why alternative registration services like Myows.com exist is that people think it is too difficult or expensive to register a copyright. However, this is not the case as the fee for registering a work online is as little as $35. Alternative forms of registration are not recommended.
What about the poor man’s copyright?
As covered over at guttulus.com, another popular myth is that you can effectively obtain copyright by sending yourself a copy of your work through registered mail. The idea behind this myth is that this will allow you to prove that the contents of the envelope existed at the time you sent them, helping establish your ownership over the work. However, the US Copyright Office is very clear that mailing a copy of your work to yourself has no legal effect.
What can be copyrighted?
Copyright protection extends to works of artistic creation which includes music (songs, arrangements, scores, recordings, and so forth), writing (novels, poems, journalism, stories, plays, blog posts, and so forth), visual art (painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and so forth), dance choreography, movies, architecture, and computer software as discussed over at runrex.com.
Fixed and tangible
As per guttulus.com, copyright protection is only available for works that have been set into a “fixed and tangible” form. This means that you cannot copyright an idea or a concept, only its tangible expression.
What can’t be copyrighted?
Recipes themselves, including lists of ingredients and basic instructions for preparation, are not eligible for copyright protection. However, a detailed editorial about your experience making a dish and eating it, as well as any photos you take during the process are eligible for copyright. Likewise, even though clothing design is considered a form of artistic expression by the people who practice it, is still considered a utilitarian product and is not eligible for copyright protection. Fabric prints on the other hand are eligible for protection. Jokes are also not eligible for copyright protection as the essence of a joke is the idea itself and an idea can’t be protected by copyright.
What is fair use?
Fair Use is the allowance made for the use of copyrighted material for commentary, criticism, or parody. Given that, in a way, copyright is a restriction on free speech, Fair Use helps provide a solution to this. This is because it exempts certain types of uses from the restrictions of copyright to recover the benefits of free speech. Fair Use allows you to make copies of a copyrighted work for comment, criticism, or parody.
Criteria judges use to determine Fair Use
As is covered over at runrex.com, there is a four-fold list of criteria that judges are directed to use when determining whether a specific instance is a Fair Use or not. These four criteria are:
The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is commercial or is for nonprofit educational purposes
The nature of the copyrighted work
The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work
The amount and substantiality of the portion used concerning the copyrighted work as a whole
Fair Use is a very gray area
As is revealed in discussions on the same over at guttulus.com, it is important to note that Fair Use is a gray area. While there are uses that are clearly Fair and others that are clearly an infringement, it is important to note that ultimately, Fair Use is determined by a judge if and only if a case is brought to trial, which is something that rarely happens.
Parodies and covers
While Fair Use is a gray area, one aspect of it that isn’t is when it comes to parody. Song parodies, movie parodies, book parodies are all protected by Fair Use. However, a song cover is not the same as a parody. While changing all the words to make a song funny is Fair Use, changing the voice to your own is not as articulated over at runrex.com.
Examples of things that are not Fair Use
Things like posting clips or entire videos of movies and TV shows on YouTube, using an image from Google to illustrate a blog post, rewriting song lyrics for a non-parody purpose, and quoting all or most of a news story are not Fair Use.
Fair Use and age
The age of the work doesn’t affect Fair Use. This means that it doesn’t matter if the work is about to go out of copyright next year or if the author has been dead for a long time; copyright is binary which means that something is either under copyright or not.