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“ 10 Big Myths about Copyright Explained” By: Brad Templeton Presented By: Nichole Au December 6, 2007 Copyrights explained A copyright is the legal exclusive right of the author of a creative work to control the copying of the work.

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
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10 big myths about copyright explained

“10 Big Myths about Copyright Explained”

By: Brad Templeton

Presented By: Nichole Au

December 6, 2007

copyrights explained
Copyrights explained
  • A copyright is the legal exclusive right of the author of a creative work to control the copying of the work.
  • Several copyright misconceptions exist that people should be wary of so they don’t get into legal trouble.
myth 1
Myth #1

“If it doesn’t have a copyright notice, it’s not copyrighted.”

  • This was true in the past, but not today.
  • Most major countries use the Berne copyright convention.
  • In the US, almost everything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989 is copyrighted and protected whether notice is posted or not.
myth 2
Myth #2

“If I don’t charge for it, it’s not a violation.”

  • It’s still a violation if you give it away, especially if you damage the commercial value of the property.
  • Even if the work has no commercial value, it is still technically a violation, even if it is unlikely that this will result in legal action.
  • Charging can affect the damages awarded in court.
myth 3
Myth #3

“If it’s posted to Usenet, it’s in the public domain.”

  • Nothing creative in the modern world is in the public domain unless the owner explicitly puts it in the public domain.
  • Some argue that posting to Usenet implicitly grants permission to everybody to copy postings, but an implicit license will never supersede an explicit one.
  • Also, this would assume that the poster had the right to post the item in the first place.
myth 4
Myth #4

“My posting was just fair use!”

  • The “fair use” exemption to (US) copyright law was created to allow parody, commenting, news reporting, and research and education about copyrighted works without the permission of the author.
  • This allows you to be able to express your own works, but not necessarily to be able to appropriate other people’s.
  • Intent and damage to commercial value are to be considered.
myth 5
Myth #5

“If you don’t defend your copyright, you lose it.” and “Someone has that name copyrighted!”

  • Copyright is effectively never lost in modern times, unless given away.
  • You can only trademark names or titles, and this can be weakened or lost if not defended.
  • You can’t use a trademark to make people confuse you with the owner of the mark or if it steals the value of the mark.
myth 6
Myth #6

“If I make up my own stories, but base them on another work, my new work belongs to me.”

  • Derivative works, including “fan fiction,” are works based or derived from another copyrighted work, and are therefore belongs to the original owner.
  • This includes the use of characters or settings.
  • Criticism and parody are major exceptions.
myth 7
Myth #7

“They can’t get me, defendants in court have powerful rights!”

  • Copyright law is civil law, which means you get sued, not charged with a crime.
  • “Innocent until proven guilty” and “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” don’t apply in the same way in copyright suits.
myth 8
“Myth #8

“Oh, so copyright violation isn’t a crime or anything?”

  • In the US, commercial copyright violations involving more than 10 copies and value over $2500 was made a felony.
  • “Don’t think that you’re going to get people thrown in jail for posting your email. The courts have much better things to do.”
myth 9
Myth #9

“It doesn’t hurt anybody—in fact, it’s free advertising.”

  • Only the owner can decide if they want free advertising, and if you don’t know, just ask.
  • Even if you can’t see how the owner can get hurt, piracy gives sharing technology a bad name.
myth 10
Myth #10

“They emailed me a copy, so I can post it.”

  • “To have a copy is not to have the copyright.”
  • All emails that you write are copyrighted, but unless previously agreed, it is not secret.
  • You probably won’t get anything if you try to sue someone for posting your email, but technically, you should ask first.
  • This is also just common courtesy.
myth 11 conclusion
Myth #11 – Conclusion

“So I can’t ever reproduce anything?”

  • In response to the first 10 myths…
  • This field can still be subject to change.
  • Only recently, exceptions have been made for recording TV programs for home viewing and moving music from CDs to your own MP3 player.
  • Before you use anything from anyone else’s work, do some research and figure out if what you’re doing is illegal.
  • If you’re going to violate copyright laws simply because you know you’ll probably get away with it, you should ask yourself why you’re doing it.
  • Copyrights are meant to protect not only commercial benefit from a work, but also to control how that work is used.
  • Copyrights also ensure the reward for authors, encouraging them to publish and distribute their works.
  • Brad Templeton, “10 Big Myths about Copyright Explained” October 2004 <http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html> September 2007.