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.

Does the “Poor Man’s Copyright” Really Work?

Copyright Registration or Poor Man’s Copyright?

Many authors, photographers, novelists, and other creative professionals swear by the “poor man’s copyright” method: mailing copies of their own works to themselves and leaving the envelope sealed, thus “proving” legal ownership over the enclosed material.

But does this really prove anything… or is the attempt simply a waste of money?

Copyright Protection is Automatic

When you create a song, a poem, a music video, a painting, or any other piece of copyrightable work, protection is automatic. You created it; you own it.

But there’s a rather conspicuous difference between owning certain rights and protecting those rights in court.

Copyright Registration is the Only Legal Proof Accepted In Court

According to the US Copyright Office’s “Copyright Basics” publication, there are definite advantages to registering officially (despite the fact that protection does not depend upon it), arguably the most important being that in case of copyright infringement, registrations for works that originated in the United States are required in order to bring a lawsuit.

Yes, you read that right: Without a copyright registration, you cannot sue someone for copyright infringement.

Another excellent reason to register sooner rather than later involves the potential payment of legal fees, in the event of a successful outcome in court; if the official registration does not take place before the infringement or within 3 months of publication, only actual damages can be rewarded (no statutory damages or legal fees).

Suddenly, the $35 registration fee proponents of the poor-man’s copyright try to avoid doesn’t seem to large and looming anymore.

Poor Man’s Copyright Not Supported by Law

One last nail in the coffin comes by way of the same publication:

“The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a ‘poor man’s copyright.’ There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.”

It’s clear that deciding to save money by choosing the poor-man’s copyright is a myopic view of reality, and that any rational look toward future finances supports a decision to officially register a copyright.

The Most Crucial Points You Should Know About Music Licensing And Musical Copyright

It never ceases to shock me the number of people are in complete ignorance of precisely what music copyright is about, and how high-risk it could be to ignore the guidelines associated with it. Music licensing is, in simple terms at least, the authorized use of any kind of tracks that holds a legitimate copyright over it.

So why do we’ve got music licensing at all? Well the true reason for it is because musicians and lyricists should have a powerful layer of protection encompassing his or her works, otherwise they would not produce it to begin with. If you made an outstanding masterpiece, you’d probably need some form of defense against individuals stealing it or declaring it is his or her own creation. This particular defense is generated by the various audio licensing methods, and the legislations facilitates them therefore you can take someone to the courtroom for breaching your own copyright entitlement.

For instance, Philips just recently released an aggressive marketing strategy. The campaign carries a reputable Beatles tune as its theme music. It’s been stated that Philips actually paid out a whopping one million bucks for the legal rights to make use of this track within their marketing plan. That really goes to show the power of audio licensing inside the corporate arena. Most people also are not able to fully understand the wide extent of audio copyright in the United States. As an example, many individuals do not know how the tracks performed for radio stations, in TV ads, in podcasts, in motion pictures and even in bars will be strongly licensed.

To gain a very clear knowledge of just how far current US and other world music copyright schemes go in locking down the interests of music providers, here are a few important principles to take into account:

The law allows you to possess rights to particular sounds, verse and notes in a music. The legal rights to any of these elements or even all of them will be your own if they’re unique and you are the original composer. You must also be aware of the point that being the inventor merely offers you the right to the tunes however for these legal rights to be enforceable inside a court of justice you’ll have to sign-up in your local copyright clinic, a thing that many performers omit to do.

Licensing regulations have a totally different process on the subject of commercialized tracks. In this case, it is an actual song not its sounds, lyrics or notes which are under examination at the certification phase. There’s a few concerned parties with regards to these kinds of songs. The individuals concerned include the record label, the artist, the musician and the song author.

The record label would own the rights for the song’s actual sound recording, the composer and verse writer will possess the legal rights for the song, the publisher will legally represent the composer and songwriter in all their business affairs which the piece of music concerns.

That is the basic set up in relation to a commercial melody. Then again, slight variations may very well take place in any given record labelling company based on the details of the legal agreements it has got with its vocalists and songwriters. Additionally, other licensing styles are available whereby companies can buy the rights to Royalty Free music, enabling them to use the music in relative peace of mind without any “needle-drop” fees. It is important to remember that royalty free and copyright free music are two very different things entirely. Copyright free music has no rights whatsoever as they are relinquished by the artist upon a track’s creation or composition.

Radio channels and bars that want to use tunes are required to get hold of public performance privileges from appropriate authorities. In North America those relevant bodies are the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and the Broadcast Music Incorporated organisation.

These organizations issue out blanket certificates to diners and broadcast channels to use just about any audio that they desire. The proceeds provided by those payments are then divided moving upward amongst the music rights proprietors in the country.

It goes without saying that broadcasters and production firms must be very careful whenever selecting tracks for film or community presentations. Podcasts are certainly one area where many individuals have made a commercial mistake by simply neglecting to perform some general checks on the law and how it pertains to the use of particular music arrangements.

What Is Copyright Awareness?

There is no standard definition for “Copyright Awareness”. However, some critics have argued that awareness can only be defined in the light of what is being manifested in all forms of perception, knowledge and consciousness. In each expression, awareness is revealed as the ability to perceive (perception), know (knowledge) or the state of being conscious (consciousness).

Simply defined, awareness means you aware of something. Let us say “I am aware of road accidents” it is qualified as “Road Accident Awareness”. Similarly, when “I am aware of copyright”, this also is “Copyright Awareness”. This means whenever there is awareness of something, that thing becomes the qualifying subject for awareness.

On this wise, copyright awareness is knowing that copyright exists and having knowledge about it. It is the state of having conscious knowledge about copyright in a perceived manner. When users of copyright materials exhibit this sense of awareness in an educational institution, it gives authors the opportunity to enjoy the economic value of their works and motivates their authorship.

Copyright awareness can be developed when conscious efforts are made to bring it into fruition. For instance, when copyright notices are displayed at various points where copyright materials are mostly used.

The importance of copyright awareness can be notice in its absence. That is to say that the absence of copyright can be noticed when there is the problem of uncontrolled copyright infringement activities such as illegal photocopying, plagiarism and piracy within an academic setup.

Awareness in all sphere of life is very challenging. In the same vein, Awareness of Copyright Protection has also remained a globally controversial aspect of copyright laws in respect of works eligible for copyright protection, works not protected by copyright and authors’ protection under the copyright protection. This, however, reveals that a lot of people have little or no knowledge in this regard.

On the other hand, Awareness of Copyright Infringement (ACI) can be said to be the awareness that is created when people become aware, conscious, alert, and responsive that unauthorised use of works that are copyrighted is prohibited. Some scholers argued that before we can discuss what constitutes Awareness of Copyright Infringement (ACI), it’s probably a good idea to lay out what specifically are the rights that are granted by copyright law that are likely to be infringed. For instance, in Ghana, according to Bosumprah (2009), “copyright is infringed when a work protected by copyright is used in any of the following ways without any permission from the copyright owner:

  • Reproduction, duplication, extraction or importation into the country not for personal use but for commercial purposes.
  • Distribution of the work for sale in Ghana”.

This is because a work exploited in the above mentioned manner may be prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the author. This is why section 41 of the Copyright Act, 2005 (Act 690) regards an act contrary to the rights of an author as provided under sections 5 and 6 as infringement of copyright. So, since the copyright owner has the exclusive right to do all of those things (or to permit others to do them), infringement can happen when someone does any of them without the copyright owner’s permission (Davidson, 2010).

Davidson (2010), however agrees with other scholars that “the majority of copyright infringement suits involve unauthorized… ”

  • Reproduction (as in copying a work) through photocopying, and this according to Panethiere (2005), is one of the common ways of infringing copyright in literary works.
  • Distributing (as in copies of the work) through piracy. According to Panethiere (2005) this happens through unauthorised manufacturing and selling of works in copyright – what Osman (2010) regarded as Counterfeitingor the creation or distribution of imitations of genuine works with the intent to deceive the public about their authenticity.
  • Use of someone else’s ideas or words, as in plagiarism, or using someone else’s ideas or words without properly crediting the source, Osman (2010).

Further to this, Panethiere (2005) argued that

“itis not necessary for a whole work to be reproduced or for more than one reproduction to be made for an infringement of copyright to occur. An infringement of copyright occurs so long as a substantial portion of a work is reproduced or other copyright use is made of it”.

This is because what is a substantial portion is often subjected to a qualitative rather than a quantitative test. It is the quality or essence of what has been taken rather than the amount that is taken that will often determine whether the portion taken is substantial or not.


Bosumprah, B. (2009). The Rights and Responsibilities of the Media under the Copyright Law.

Davidson, J. (2010). What Constitutes Copyright Infringement and How Is It Decided? IP Registration and Enforcement Blog. An ongoing discussion of intellectual property and entertainment law issues.

Copyright 101: Understanding Copyright Law and How to License Your Artwork As a Designer

Copyright/Licensing Info:

U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 empowers Congress to “promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” -the basis of copyright laws of today

In today’s visual world, the work created by a graphic designer are among the most powerful vehicles for communicating ideas in our society and generating revenue for a particular client. A successful logo, ad campaign, commercial or overall branding of a company, can evoke a company’s goodwill in the public mind and move an entire population to action.

© Copyright: an artist’s right to control the use of their original creative art (which also provides the basis for pricing, licensing and fair trade practices)

1978 – Copyright Act became effective

1989 – U.S. copyright law automatically protects original artwork from the moment of its creation even without inscribing a copyright notice which always allows the artist to assert a claim for copyright infringement even if he or she has not previously registered the work in question.

1998 – The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) became effective also including the digital network environment as well as print, film and recording media.

Copyright term: Artist’s life + 70 years

Trademarks: TM or ®
While a copyright protects an artistic or literary work and a patent protects an invention, a trademark protects its name or identity.

A valid trademark gives the owner the right to prevent others from using a mark that might be confusingly similar to the owner’s mark especially if someone else uses the mark for similar goods or services thus respecting the owner’s intellectual property.

The ® symbol, however, may ONLY be used AFTER the U.S. Government grants a federal registration certificate. (Nike, Mercedes, etc… ). Being registered through the federal government entitles you to more rights in case of infringement throughout the United States, even in geographical areas in which the trademark is not used.

Licensing Rights:
Licensing copyright rights to a client for use and reuse or reproduction of a design, ad campaign, logo, etc… for a particular purpose, for a particular length of time, or for a particular geographic area for a fee is an issue of basic fairness and standard business practice in the industry.

An artist’s copyright is actually a bundle of individual rights. Each specific use can be transferred outright or licensed separately for a specific length of time. Fees are determined primarily by the value agreed upon between the licensor (artist) and licensee (client). Any rights not transferred explicitly in writing remain the property of the creator.

*In the design/advertising industry, the value of a particular work of art or design is influenced greatly by its use.

Artists can license their work on either a flat licensing fee or on a royalty fee for a specified period of time as agreed by both the licensor (artist) and licensee (client).

It is very important to be specific as each type of design and level of usage influence the final value of the artwork AND scope of the amount of design work to be completed. This information will ultimately assist in finalizing the price structure for the designer and creative budget for the client.

Setting Rates:
Rates vary by several deciding factors:

1.) Distribution:
Mass market – major retailer w/ increased potential volume of sales vs. speciality market – boutique stores w/ potential lesser volume of sales
Pertaining to start up companies: find out how many and which pieces of product, apparel, accessories, promotional materials/merchandise the client plans to produce for its initial and subsequent manufacturing runs.

2.) Type of medium/product:
Where will the finished design work appear? Print (Magazine, Newspaper Publications), Digital (Web, Email, Social Media) Outdoor (Signs/Signage, Billboards) or Multiple Forms of Media? How many mediums within each market category will the artwork appear? (for example, 1 magazine or 10? 1 billboard or 50?, etc… )

3.) Geographic area of use:
How widely will the work be used: local, regional, national, international? As the span of the marketplace increases, so does the work’s exposure, which can increase its present and future value.

4.) Duration of use:
How long will the design work be used – for one time, one year, two years? Limitations on duration of use allow designers to control the exposure of their work and to receive fair market value in each venue where their work appears.

Ownership of original art:
Giving the client the right to artwork or to a design for a specified use or a particular period of time is different from selling the client the physical artwork and submitting all electronic files. The sale of original art is considered a secondary market for graphic designers and is, by law, a transaction separate from the transfer or sale of the reproduction rights OR the original creative fee to initially design the artwork.

All-Inclusive rights “terms:”
Such licensing rights allows the client a one time run or use of the artwork, an unlimited use of the artwork, unlimited use of the reproduction of artwork, including geographic areas, all different types of media but for a limited period of time (usually 1 year), etc.. The rights pertaining to the licensing fee would be agreed by both parties in a legally binding licensing contract.

*the artist also has the right to require limitations on duration of use and separate different designs into different licenses allowing the designer more control to the exposure of their work and to receive fair market value in each venue where their work appears.

For example, the artist can “bundle” all-inclusive rights to client for all artwork EXCEPT for use of ads in publications (magazines and/or newspapers) and would limit the number of “runs” to 5 per year instead of an unlimited amount. Any more “runs” with the artist’s ad/ad campaign would require an additional licensing fee.

All-Rights Buyout:
Finally, there is an all-rights clause, also called a “buyout,” granting the client full permission for all copyrights of all original artwork including all original electronic files that the artist creates for that client. This type of transaction is always the most substantial and highest price point upon negotiation for the artist and client. The value for all original artwork is very difficult to gauge for fair market pricing since a buyout price is determined for the artwork for both present AND future value of the company. The all-rights buyout clause would be valid for the life of the client’s company and would be settled by a legally binding buyout contract.

Copyright Part One: The Definition of Protection for Creative Works

Intellectual property is a work or invention that is the result of creativity to which one has rights and which one may protect. A copyright is a way by law to protect a writing, for example, whether it is published or not. The U.S. Copyright Office designates copyright protection for “… original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed…” (see 17 USC § 102(a)). Essentially there are three parts to the protection: (1) being a work of authorship, which we explore in more detail within a separate article, (2) being original, and (3) being fixed in a tangible medium of expression.

Original. A work must be original to the author in order to be protected. Further, the term “original” as used in copyright law simply means (i) that the work was independently created by the author and (ii) that it possesses at least a minimal degree of creativity. Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service is an illustrative case from 1991 in which Rural Telephone Service’s mere directory compilation deserved no copyright protection. The test is that an idea be more than “so mechanical or routine as to require no creativity whatsoever” – that the idea contain some “creative spark.” The court ruled that Rural Telephone Service’s directory was nothing more than an alphabetical list of all subscribers to its service, meaning no creative expression was involved.

Fixed. The fixed form does not have to be directly perceptible so long as it can be communicated with the aid of a machine or other device. For instance, a short story that is printed on paper meets this requirement, while a live performance of the same short story that is not being simultaneously recorded does not. Another example exists in a song. A song is considered fixed when it is written down on paper, which is the medium on which the song can be perceived, reproduced, and communicated. Further, as long as the work can be perceived by a machine, like the moment the author records it onto a cassette tape or compact disc, the song is fixed. Similarly, a computer program is fixed when stored on a computer’s hard drive. Further, even though bits and bytes are only temporarily fixed via the random access memory (RAM) of a computer, many courts have held that a computer program that exists in RAM is fixed for the purpose of copyright protection.

Copyright Part Three: A Work of Authorship

The U.S. Copyright Office designates copyright protection for “… original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed… ” (see 17 USC § 102(a)). Essentially there are three parts to the protection: (1) being a work of authorship, which we explore in more detail here, (2) being original, and (3) being fixed in a tangible medium of expression. The law provides a non-exhaustive list of articles protected as “works of authorship.” Here, we clarify literary works a bit and delve into some other obscure areas of copyright protection.

Story Characters original to your literary or dramatic work or motion picture are protectable. If one were to copy the main traits of your story characters, much of the dialogue, and the series of detailed actions of your story, including gestures, s/he will have violated your copyright.

Computer Programs, included within literary works protection, are inherently functional. However, you may still have “protectable nuggets” (Computer Associates International v. Altai). An initial step is to identify, by descending levels, the structure of the computer program. Filter out things, like elements toward efficiency and parts taken from the public domain, that will not get copyright protection. Also filter out non-original material, like code or algorithms copied from others, that will not be protectable by you. If there are “protectable nuggets” then seek an attorney for help.

Pictorial and Graphics that use your same vantage point, colors the sky similarly, copies details of buildings originally created by you, and copies other specific expressive elements, infringes on your copyright. A work can be functional and still have protected creative expression. For example, the protected expression of a mask can be separated from the non-protectable function of it.

Non-Useful Articles, which are not specifically and solely designed to be used, will get copyright protection. For instance, there was no copyright protection for a sculptor’s bike rack design (Brandir International v. Cascade Pacific Lumber). Examples of “non-useful” articles are a toy airplane or a painting. Similarly, even though people use computer programs, maps, and clocks, these are still “non-useful” articles within the meaning of the statute, because each conveys information.

Derivative Works, which are works based on one or more preexisting works, are protectable to the extent of the material contributed by the author of the derivative work. A derivative work may be based on a copyrighted work (like a parody derivative of a work) or a work from the public domain (like a derivative of the novel Pride and Prejudice). A translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form of an original work are derivative works. Other examples include editorial revisions, musicals, translations of a novel, sequel to a movie, and a country arrangement of a rock song.

Are you trying to conduct preliminary research on whether or not you have a legal claim to raise before you consult an attorney?

Are you without legal representation at the moment?

Are you a student researching for a paper?

Copyright Fraud

Protecting trade secrets and intellectual property, and taking action against infringement, has actually become extremely difficult in the modern international business world.

If you do have a concern that involves proprietary information or about copyright fraud, then in some cases a private investigation agency could be an ideal choice for assistance.

Perhaps this is even more the case in less developed countries where enforcement of copyright seems less of a priority for the police than in more developed nations.

Indeed in some countries the police might be part of the problem. Perhaps that may be a little extreme (perhaps not) but at the very least the police all the way up through the chain of command, may just be ignoring the issue of copyright infringement. In many cases this might not be through the lack of genuine concern so much as lack of resources. The more limited the resources, the more challenging the prioritisation decisions.

One needs only to walk around the streets in South East Asia to see the huge amounts of counterfeit DVDs, bags, clothes, telephones and so on all openly on display.

A private investigation agency can help locate the principal source of illegal activities, and those involved along the supply chain.

How a Private Investigation Agency Can Help

  • Discover the production source of the copyright items;
  • Find the seller/s of the copyright items;
  • Go undercover in order to find out and expose the various elements of the supply chain;
  • Retrieve valuable specimens of the stolen goods;
  • Do background checks of the perpetrators.

What Copyright Investigation Involves

  • Research of violations: Agents can help you in identifying intellectual asset theft as well as copyright fraud;
  • Identification of the perpetrators: One of the main steps with copyright investigations is to discover, locate, and also obtain essential background information and profiles of the perpetrators;
  • Surveillance at retail and manufacturing locations: Surveillance may also be used in order to get evidence of infringement and theft at source and along a supply chain.

Companies and individuals face challenging, and constantly evolving landscapes in intellectual property rights in any given country. Local private investigators are often best placed to assist in the constant battle against infringement of patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets.

In this expanding global marketplace companies are working in new territories and facing not just different administrative hurdles, uneven enforcement, and procedural barriers but also commercial obstacles from extremely sophisticated counterfeiters.

All About Copyrights

Protection by Copyrights

A copyright is a legal concept that grants original creators of work exclusive rights for the use and distribution. A copyright is considered intellectual property, such as patents and trademarks. It’s applicable to anything, including art, inventions, etc. There are no “international copyright laws”, every country has its own laws. America, for example, enforces all of the laws of all of the countries with copyright protection. There are exceptions to copyrights called “Fair Use Laws,” where you can use a small section of the poem, song, or other works, as long as you credit the author. This is especially true with teachers, who copy many worksheets off the computer and never really credit the websites, and never get in trouble for it.

A few months ago I saw this video on YouTube called “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That.” A few weeks later I find this video called ” Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That REMIX.” It was the exact same video, but remixed into a song. I, at first, thought that it was a great idea. But as I kept browsing YouTube I kept seeing the same video remixed over and over again, with small variations of the original remix. Everyone was infringing copyrights left and right, and nobody was doing anything about it. YouTube can’t and won’t take down a video that popular, because it will be reposted, and it will have made more money if not removed. Lately on the internet people have been downloading YouTube videos into MP3 format files, to their computers. Since a lot of the YouTube videos are original music, this is 100% copyright infringement.

Imagine yourself, playing in front of thousands of people, living out your “rockstar dream,” making hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now imagine if only 10 people paid to get into the theater. You wouldn’t be making enough money to support yourself and your family. This is the same with music everywhere nowadays. According to the Times Online, the average teenager has over 800 illegally downloaded songs on his or her music player, accounting for nearly 50% of his music library. 96% of 18-to 24-year-olds illegally copy music either by downloading and uploading through the internet or sharing music via e-mail and burned CDs.

Not everybody takes it as lightly as most. In 2009, a woman in Minnesota showed that downloading 24 songs, costing $0.99 each, can lead to a fine of $1.9 million, or $80,000 per song! A normal penalty in the United States shows that sharing copyrighted music, or other material, can lead from a $150,000 to $250,000 fine or up to 5 year in jail. The effects of copyright infringement aren’t as light as everyone thinks. The RIAA asserts that piracy has cost the United States over $12 billion in total output, annually, as well as over 70,000 jobs lost!

The worst, and hardest to catch, kind of copyright infringement is online piracy. Online piracy is a term used to elucidate on the illegal copying of licensed and copyrighted materials from the Internet. In 2002, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reported that CD sales had fallen by 8.9 percent, from 882 million to 803 million unites: revenues fell 6.7 percent. The RIAA estimates that over 2.1 billion CDs were downloaded for free. Even though 2.6 times the total number of CDs were sold, profits fell by just 6.7 percent. Music piracy is bad for everyone, especially people trying to get new jobs in the music industry. Like Steve Jobs stated, “It is online piracy, not overt online music stores, that is our biggest competitor.” Music and movies aren’t the only things being pirated. There are over 15 million illegal downloads of just Minecraft-Mojang already downloaded from various sites. If everyone would have bought the game from the seller, they would have made 300 million dollars to keep updating the game. There is no reason to pirate, so don’t encourage it.

Received a Copyright Infringement Notice? Now What?

Are you one of those who just received a TCYK LLC letter? In order for such a letter of claim not to become a TCYK LLC lawsuit eventually, it is a must to know some what-to-do guidelines when receiving notices for copyright infringement. So, read on; this article might help.

Let’s start with some FAQs:

Who sends a letter of claim?

Only 3 sources are authorized to send you a letter of demand for copyright infringement, and these are:

· An exclusive licensee or someone who has an exclusive copyright license of a certain creative material

· The owner of the copyright

· The solicitor/s and anti-piracy entities who have been hired by copyright owners to chase infringers

In some territories and selected cases, the ISP may also have the right to send a copyright infringement notice to warn subscribers of their illegal downloading and/or file-sharing activities.

What to do next?

You need to respond to the letter of claim within the period specified on the letter. In England, it is a general rule to reply to a letter of demand or copyright infringement notice within 14 days after receiving the letter, whether you are guilty of the allegation or you are not directly responsible for the infringement. This is why proper understanding of the letter’s content is a must before even thinking of responding through email or phone call. Take your time knowing the details of the allegation, and consider seeking professional legal assistance if there are things you want to be clarified. Aside from asking legal advice from a solicitor, you may also get in touch with the letter sender directly through the hotline provided on the letter. This way you can easily get more information regarding the allegation against you as well as prevent any more serious consequences like litigation. Responding to a letter of claim immediately also lets you clear your name if ever you did not really commit the infringement.

So what should you do to stop receiving another copyright infringement notice?

  1. Stop downloading copyrighted materials. Yes, it is as simple as that. Most things you see online are owned by someone, and it is better off not to take something that’s not yours, unless you have already acquired permission from the rightful owner. However, there are also copyrighted materials that are made available by the copyright holders themselves through a Creative Commons License, which means you are actually free to make use of certain music and other creative materials online. Although there is this exception, it is still important to note that most free films you see online should not be really free and are still owned by people or entities, therefore you are most likely required to pay for downloading and/or sharing them.
  2. Check your internet connection usage. It is also important to know everyone who has access to your Wi-Fi connection to easily track the person/s responsible for any infringement, especially if you are very much aware that you haven’t really tried downloading or sharing copyrighted materials through your PC and other devices at home. You can check whoever’s accessing your wireless router by looking into its logs of connections, which most routers do have. You may also acquire assistance from your ISP in order to make sure that only you and your family or anyone in your household are the only ones accessing your internet connection, therefore not putting you at risk of any illegal downloading and other copyright infringement allegations.

These are just some of the basic precautionary measures you can do to stay away from letting a letter of claim turn into a TCYK LLC lawsuit.

If you need more thorough guidance on responding to letters of claim, contact Copyrightcollections Ltd

. We help film and creative industries seek out illegal distribution of copyrighted materials, and we can answer all of your questions regarding copyright infringement notices.