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.