Need of Copyrighting for Bloggers

Bloggers generally want their message to spread across the internet. If you are a blogger and write good content, you must have copied your work and other people across the internet must be copying it too. As long as the copied work is used for the popularity of your work and the content advertises your true message, it is in your interest. But if the blog is used with some other name and your purpose is violated, this will be an infringement of your copyright.

Most bloggers do not consider copyrighting their blogs as they want to invite people to copy their work and make the message known far and wide. But copyright does not only stop such reproduction, it also asserts the creators authority over his work. You may not object to your project being copied but if the essence of a good message is violated, you will have problems. Say if you use your message for a social cause, and the reproducer used it to his own benefit, the true spirit of your message is destroyed. If you have copyrighted your work, you will have the authority to challenge this act.

Once you register your work with the United States Copyright Office, you can put a copyright symbol on each of your blogs to discourage plagiarism. This act will certainly discourage 50% to 75% people involved in violating an author’s moral rights but the other hardcore thieves cannot be stopped. There are some people belonging to the new generation who do not believe in copyright facts and they think any information available is everyone’s right. Such people never give credit to the author and believe it is their right to use the content in any form that they wish. For such cases, the assertion of a legal authority is a necessity. This is where a registered copyright comes to the rescue.

Copying content off a blog and spreading out the message in its true essence with credits to the author is perfect but when the author’s name is eliminated, that is not right. Even if the blog is not registered, the author of any tangible work has moral rights and the copyrights exist whether registered or not. Certain people who wish to help you spread your message, copy your blog and leave a link on your website. You can contact them later and show our gratitude. The others who want to violate your purpose will never use your name with your message nor will they respond to your emails that you send them.

Though no rules now with the increasing technology can stop copyright infringement, but it is still better to stay on the safe side by registering your copyright and acquiring trademarks for your logos and business names. Even if you are a blogger, at some point you may feel you need to apply your authority to snub the others.

Copyrighting Your Music

Any original idea that changes into a tangible form becomes copyrightable. Its author then has the right and authority to own his creation. This goes for any work in the field of art, literature, design or research and also music. Any music composed should be written down every minute from the creation of its first note to the point where lyrics are completed and the song is sung. Though all this music is to entertain people, it should still be kept safe from infringers.

Many music composers are reluctant to share their work because they fear their song might be unlawfully copied. But if a song is registered it gets protected against plagiarism. As soon as a work is put down in a tangible form on paper, disk or computer file, it is copyrighted but registering it is a whole new process.

The United States Copyright Office states, “Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of ‘original works of authorship’… It is illegal for anyone to violate any of the rights provided by the copyright law to the owner of the copyright.” The US Copyright office has all these rights on its site and explains in three steps how to secure the copyright of a sound recording. The whole process takes six months and a registration fee of $45.

The US Copyright Office method takes a good amount of money and time but another cheaper, easier and quicker way is the “poor man’s copyright”. The owner mails himself a copy of his work and leaves the envelope unopened. This work is opened only when the owner has to prove his authority in the court against an alleged work or an infringement. But this method is doubted by the legal authorities because deception is very easy in this method. The owner can even mail himself an unsealed envelope hence change as much content as he wants to. Therefore this method of copyright is not as reliable as the US Copyright Office method.

A new form of “poor man’s copyright” is posting your song recording or lyrics to websites as Echoboost.com. But these websites came up with no information on their back up therefore, they are not as reliable either.

Don Pass, man and a music business attorney and author says, “You don’t need to register the copyright in Washington, but it is a nice piece of evidence. If someone claims he wrote the song on such-and-such date, and you can prove you wrote it before that; then it helps.

Copyright Infringer – Employer or Employee?

When a piece of work faces plagiarism and the infringer is an employee or a hired contractor, the employer is held responsible for this act. Hence, he is liable of punishment for the violation of the Copyright Law.

The copyright owner can appeal in the court for this infringement against the employee or consultant for authorizing the violation of copyright by the employer; the employer on the basis of his responsibility for the acts of his hired persons; any person who allows the performance in public of a literary, musical or any other work without the consent of the copyright holder; anyone who assists in the unlawful reproduction of a tangible work by a copyright infringer.

The employer is most likely to be charged for plagiarism as he should be monitoring the acts of his employees or consultants and is financially stable enough to afford the legal expenses and pay for the damages to the owner of copyright. Compensation for the damages caused by such an infringement is not fixed in the Copyright Law, it depends on the conditions and circumstances. These are generally determined by the commercial values. Either the alleged work is copied and sold or it is only reproduced for personal interest and not for reselling.

Alleged work resold
Many a times the infringer copies an original idea and uses it without the permission of the lawful owner to make money. In this case the owner suffers a greater loss. If the court decision goes in favour of the owner, the damages can be recovered but not completely. If the infringer is not able to sell as many pieces of work as the owner, the profit is definitely lower and if the infringer has sold the work at a lower price than the work deserves, again the owner is at loss. Apart from money, it is also the reputation of a product that gets affected by such an act. If the price standard or quality standard is lowered or the product is used in a vulgar or wrong manner, the trademark gains a negative reputation.

Alleged work not sold
If the infringer does not sell the alleged work, there is no recovery of profit. Instead, the owner charges a license fee for using his creativity. This is an agreement between the claimant and the defendant.

Conclusion
Employers must be very careful and well aware of copyright laws to avoid getting into any accusations. On the other hand, a lawsuit may recover some damages for the owner but it is always less than the actual profit – both financial and moral. Therefore, it is best to register a copyright for your tangible, copyrightable works.

Copyright Law – A Brief Guide to the Basics of Copyright Law

Copyright Basics
Copyright protects your original work of expression, such as an article, website, software, cookbook, song or a painting from unauthorized use by others. You get the exclusive rights to sell, display, reproduce your work, and sue those that infringe on those rights. Generally, copyright for works made after January 1, 1978, lasts for 70 years after the creator’s death. 17 U.S.C. § 302 (a). For works made for hire, the copyright lasts the shorter of 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation. Works published under a pseudonym or anonymously are protected for 95 years after publication or 120 years after creation, whichever is first. 17 U.S.C. § 302 (c). Under the current law, it is not necessary to publish a work or display the copyright symbol in order to obtain copyright.

Fair use
Your exclusive rights notwithstanding, sometimes others can use your work without your permission, as long as it constitutes “fair use.” Fair use is usually limited to educational, newsworthy, criticism and commentary purposes. For example, somebody may freely summarize or quote a short passage from your article to illustrate a point. Big part of the recent SOPA and PIPA controversy was about where to draw the line in the fair use category. Websites such as Wikipedia rely on free use of others’ content; SOPA and PIPA would place certain restrictions on what copyrighted materials such websites could legally include as part of the “fair use.”

Registration
You must register copyright in order to bring a lawsuit for infringement in federal court. It’s best if you register within three months of the date of publications or at least before the alleged infringement happened. U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress registers copyrights. If you register, you may recover up to $150,000 in a lawsuit even without proving any actual monetary damages. Copyright Office records are public, which means anybody has access to them.

If you file online, you will receive a certificate within a few months. Paper filings could take a year. These time frames presume you’ve done everything correctly when you filed. Seek qualified counsel for assistance.

International copyright protection
There is no uniform international copyright law that will automatically protect your copyright throughout the world. However, your copyright will be protected in most of the countries in the world because U.S. has treaties and conventions with most, yet not all, of the countries in the world to honor each other’s citizens’ copyrights. For a complete and current list of such countries, see U.S. Copyright Office Circular 38a, International Copyright Relations of the United States.

Copyright Protection: 2 Intriguing Objects Eligible for Copyrights

Copyright — a federal protection granted to the author of a creative work — is commonly understood in contexts such as books, movies, photographs, and paintings. It’s clear to most people that, under normal circumstances, you can’t copy someone’s novel and publish it as your own, post someone else’s photo or painting on your own blog without the author’s permission, or create an unauthorized sequel to someone’s movie.

But did you know copyrights are not limited to words, pictures, music, and video?

For a work to be eligible for copyright protection, it must be the expression of an idea (not simply the idea itself, for ideas are not copyrightable), and it must be considered to have unique authorship (it cannot be an exact duplication of something else). Here are 2 intriguing types of work that do fall into these parameters and are, in fact, eligible for copyright protection.

1. Vessel Hull Design

Dating only as far back as 1998, the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act provides protection for — you guessed it — original ship hull designs.

While copyright registration for most of the more familiar types of works (music, text, movies) require a copy of the work itself to be submitted along with the application, the hull of a ship is understandably difficult to deliver to the US Copyright Office. For prohibitively large works such as this, the Copyright Office requires “identifying material” consisting of pictures and measurements.

2. Architectural Works

It seems odd to imagine a copyright on a building, but works of architecture can now be copyrighted by submitting the blueprints to the US Copyright Office, due to a series of modifications to copyright law throughout the centuries.

Works are architecture were introduced into copyright law almost as a fluke: the first copyright law specified that only books, maps, and charts could be protected; the next version broadened the to include “writings” by an “author”; the next version allowed for “drawings… of a scientific or technical nature”; only the next version after that specifically mentioned architectural drawings — but even so, the buildings themselves were not explicitly mentioned, only the drawings or blueprints themselves.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was enacted in 1998 to update copyright law in matters dealing with the electronic/digital environment. Its principle features focus on limitations on infringement liability for service providers and prohibitions on circumvention of technological protection measures. Online education environments are greatly affected by the act provisions. Educational institutions are generally considered as service providers for purposes of the act.

Students can become rather creative when designing websites using educational institution equipment, software, and access to the Internet. Service providers receive certain protections from liability and “notice and takedown” procedures must be strictly and timely followed. Any copyrighted works that are infringed upon by a student using educational institution resources is subject to the act.

If a copyright owner discovers that their copyrighted work is up on a website supported in some way by resources of an educational institution, the copyright owner must file a notification of alleged infringement under penalty of perjury and in accordance with the statutory requirements for notification under the act. Upon receipt of notification, the service provider must swiftly remove or block access to the material identified in the notification or face loss of protection under the act. If the service provider complies, the service provider is then exempt from monetary liability. The act contains special provisions for non-profit institutions for certain acts on the part of instructors and graduate students and considers them “a person other than the provider” and affords protection to the educational institution under the following conditions:

(a) The faculty member or graduate student’s infringing activities do not involve providing access to course materials that were required or recommended during the past three years.

(b) The institution has not received more than two notifications over the past three years that the faculty member or graduate student was infringing.

(c) The institution provides all of its users with informational materials describing and promoting compliance with copyright law.

The DMCA is divided into five titles:

1. Title I, the “WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act of 1998,” implements the WIPO treaties.

2. Title II, the “Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act,” creates limitations on the liability of online service providers for copyright infringement when engaging in certain types of activities.

3. Title III, the “Computer Maintenance Competition Assurance Act,” creates an exemption for making a copy of a computer program by activating a computer for purposes of maintenance or repair.

4. Title IV contains six miscellaneous provisions, relating to the functions of the Copyright Office, distance education, the exceptions in the Copyright Act for libraries and for making ephemeral recordings, “webcasting” of sound recordings on the Internet, and the applicability of collective bargaining agreement obligations in the case of transfers of rights in motion pictures.

5. Title V, the “Vessel Hull Design Protection Act,” creates a new form of protection for the design of vessel hulls.

There are many facets to the act that cannot be fully discussed in this forum. Suffice it to say, instructors should get with their organizations and their legal counsel to become familiar with the complex intricacies of the act.

In business, it’s all about making money and using a solid set of resources to make it all happen. If you have skills that should be promoted, think about having a Web presence.

How to Write a Cease and Desist Letter and Stop Copyright Infringement

When you own a copyright — whether it be for an article, a song, a website design, or anything else you’ve created that’s eligible for copyright protection — you have certain exclusive rights to your work. This includes the exclusive right to distribute copies of your work or display it in public.

But what if someone is infringing on those rights, perhaps by hosting your song online for free download without your permission or selling copies of your novel?

As the copyright owner, you have the right to sue someone committing copyright infringement — but not everyone wants to react with the full force of the law. It’s possible that you’re not out to collect damages or lost profits: you just want the infringement to stop.

How to Write a Cease and Desist Letter

Your cease and desist letter should contain the following elements:

  1. The date
  2. Your name and address
  3. The name and address of the person committing copyright infringement
  4. Your official copyright registration number
  5. The official title of your work as written on your copyright registration
  6. Your date of copyright registration
  7. A statement to the effect that you are entitled to ask the court to award you damages under US Copyright Law
  8. A statement that you wish the infringement to stop immediately, and that if the copyright infringement does not cease, you will pursue the remedies granted to you by US Copyright Law

It’s usually a good idea to send a copy of the cease and desist letter to the copyright infringing party, as well as his or her lawyer. Of course, you will also retain a copy yourself.

Copyright Registration

We often receive enquiries about how to apply for copyright protection, and many people are surprised to learn that in fact they do not need to apply at all. Copyright subsists automatically in literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, films, sound recordings, and the typographical arrangement of published editions. Literary works are taken to include computer programs, databases, and other compilations.

Although there is no formal registration process in the UK, there are some steps which may be taken to ensure that you are able to protect your work against copyists, and increase the likelihood of successful action against an infringer. Firstly, it is useful to assert that the work is copyright, stating the owner of the copyright and the date.

© Your Company Name 2012

By making the above statement, it will be practically impossible for anyone copying this article to argue that they were not aware that copyright existed in the work, making the defence of “innocent infringement” unavailable. Note that it is important to include the date. Since copyright only subsists for a limited time, it might be possible that a person would reasonably believe that the copyright in an undated work had expired.

As well as asserting copyright in your work, it is sensible to keep good records of when works were created and updated. If you can provide objective evidence of how and when the works were created, then this will make successful enforcement more likely in the future. Some unofficial copyright registration services exist, and claim to assist with providing this evidence. However, it is difficult to advise the use of such services, since obtaining a registration will only really prove that you had access to a copy of the work on a particular date. Sending a copy of the work to yourself by recorded delivery and not opening the envelope is likely to produce exactly the same level of evidence. Even better would be a complete and dated record of drafts and source material.

It may also be sensible to consider how you can prove that an infringer has actually copied. Copyright protects only against copying so, if an alleged infringer can argue that they created their work independently and without reference to yours, then they will not be liable. Clearly an exact reproduction of a substantial portion of text would be prima facie evidence of copying, but where changes have been made it may be more difficult to prove that copying has taken place. For certain types of work, it may be possible to set ‘traps’ for a possible future infringer. In a computer program, for example, making deliberate misspellings of some words within the source code would not affect the operation of the program or necessarily be apparent to a user. However, if a similar program appeared in which the spelling errors were the same, it would be more difficult for the accused infringer to convincingly argue that they had not copied.

In the United States, copyright subsists automatically as in the United Kingdom. However, unlike the UK, the US government does provide an official registration service. Registering a work with the copyright office of the Library of Congress affords certain advantages if copyright needs to be enforced in the United States. It is also likely that a Library of Congress registration would provide the same, if not better, evidence of ownership than an unofficial registration service in any jurisdiction.

If you would like further advice on protecting your work, or are interested in registering your copyright in the US, please get in touch. Initial basic advice is always free-of-charge.

Copyright Terms – What Is the Legal Definition of a License Agreement?

Copyright of specific works and the ideal of Intellectual Property are two subjects, especially in our highly technological Internet age with ease of communication, theft and fraud, which are constantly under debate. The discussion on how to protect the rights of an artistic or literary creator from those who would steal works, give them out as their own, or simply market them for profit, has been raging since long before the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works was first penned and accepted in 1885 / 1886. The Berne Convention consists of various clauses which define who is entitled to copyright protection, over which term this copyright provision applies and how copyright protection for literary and artistic works is to be handled in countries which have differing laws. The Berne Convention was originally ratified in Berne, Switzerland in December 1887 but has undergone many and varied changes over the ensuing years, with the latest version coming into force in 1988. It has also been complemented by the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty, covering information technology and the Internet, in 1988.

Copyright is automatically assigned to the creator of a work regardless of whether this work is registered with a national or international copyright authority or agency and applies from the moment of creation. It may be assigned for a specified length of time, sold permanently with all rights and privileges and inherited, this last when royalties for reproduction of a work are paid. It may apply to individuals or to companies which take over a work for reproduction or are assigned administrative powers, but is completely separate from patent and trade mark laws.

The Copyright License Agreement is a contractual agreement between two parties over the use of a work for a limited or defined length of time. It does not apply just to a completed work, but may be also agreed upon for a work being planned or which is in the process of completion. The Agreement allows a copyright holder to specify who has the rights to market his or her work, once it is completed, for a specific period after which the copyright reverts back to the original holder. It is possible to make separate Agreements for different countries around the world and, in some cases, for differing uses. A work of art, for example, may be licensed to a greetings card manufacturer and, at the same time, to a manufacturer of chocolate products as decoration for the packaging.

A Copyright License Agreement is not to be confused with Copyright Assignment. Here the copyright holder assigns the rights for use and marketing to a third party, to a company or agent in return for royalties or a set sum in financial recompense.


Copyright Law – A Detailed Explanation of the ‘Fair Use’ Clause

Copyright Law, as defined by the Berne Convention, is the right of a creator to the Intellectual Property of their work, to the marketing and general use of that work. It has many different clauses, according to the type of work being copyrighted, but is generally applied to literary works, works of art, music and Intellectual Property, the use of ideas. It does not apply to Patents or Trade Marks which each have their own laws and regulations. A work which is copyright to a specific person or company does not need to be registered, and copyright takes effect from the moment creation is begun through, according to the type of work involved, to many decades after the creator’s death.

For works of literature, including shorter articles and journalism, a certain amount of a work may be used by other people or companies under the principle of Fair Use. That is, a portion of the work for review purposes, as a reference in another work or as a quotation to back up, or refute, another work. Copyrighted works used by others under the principles of Fair Use do not require the approval or permission of the copyright holder.

Whilst copyright is clearly defined by the Berne Convention, the Fair Use principle is subject to many different laws, on a national level, which may differ one from another. The laws concerning Fair Use are different, for example, between the United States and European countries and, although the term Fair Use originated in the United States, it has been a part of British legislation since 1709.

Fair Use of a work is explicitly limited in scope. The taking of a significant portion of a work to produce a new work, even when this new work has additional information added to it, is a breach of the various existing laws. The use of a smaller portion of an original work to enhance a new one, whereby knowledge made available to readers takes primary importance, is considered acceptable in most cases. Courts set up to consider what is Fair Use and what is copyright infringement are required not only to assess the size of the work being used and its placement within a new work, but also the scope of the quoted text. Thereby it has been shown, under United States laws, that a short extract taken from another work which may be considered to contain the heart of that work is a substantial extract, and falls outside the realms of Fair Use.

Fair Use is also limited when the original work is harmed by an extract or publication in another work. Courts have been required to consider whether the publication of a new work containing extracts from another will affect the market potential of the original and, effectively, the possibilities for the original author to gain financial recompense for the original. A new work which supersedes an original, pushing it from the marketplace, but which contains extracts from that work may be judged to fall outside the rules on Fair Use, as the new work potential or substantially harms the author of the first.

It is generally considered, by people using the works of others under a claim of Fair Use, that a certain length – for example, three hundred words – brings usage into the realm of Fair Use. Further, it is believed by some that a non-commercial enterprise using the works of others also falls under the Fair Use rules. In both cases the person using another’s works cannot necessarily claim Fair Use, depending on the nature of what is being copied and the manner in which it is to be used. Courts have often defined the use of a shorter text as falling outside Fair Use according to its scope and substantiality but accepted longer extracts. A non-commercial enterprise using the works of another will also fall outside of the Fair Use clauses and legislation as the use may harm the originators work and income or marketing capabilities. There is no set size of a work which may be used for another, each case is judged individually upon its merits and, unlike in all other cases before a court of law, it is required that the defense justify their case of Fair Use, rather than that the prosecution should prove it.

Fair Use of copyrighted works is a very complicated area, especially with written works. It is further complicated by the use of disclaimers – which are often invalid when used against Fair Use – and the use or lack of use of attribution which may, in some cases, bring copying of a work within the scope of civil law as theft and plagiarism. Fair Use does not apply in all countries in the same way as Copyright Law, with only five countries presently having clear and concise judgments and legislation on what may be called Fair Use and what falls outside of its terms. For all other countries legislation is contained within national copyright laws and the Berne Convention.

A fair rule of thumb is: consider how substantial the extracted work is; whether the new work adds significantly to present knowledge; whether the new work is a reference, scholastic or critical work; whether the original work and its marketability will be damaged in any way. Should a chosen extract meet all the criteria the chances are that it may be considered Fair Use.