Friday, January 30, 2009

The Motion Picture Association Of America And Copyrights by Charles Weber

The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) is the national voice of anti piracy laws. The MPAA defines copyright theft as: signal theft, theatrical print theft, digital picture theft (from the internet), unauthorized public performance of copyrighted work, and optical disc and videocassette theft. In the recent years the MPAA has played a major role in identifying and filing lawsuits against people who are liable for these kinds of thefts.

Some people may ask: "what constitutes these kinds of thefts?" or "does the MPAA really go after the small fries?" The truth is that the MPAA considers any kind of illegal duplication or performance of copyrighted pieces of material theft punishable to the full extent of the laws broad arm. And yes, they will go after the "small fries" as well as the big profiteers.

Here are some definitive answers to what constitutes some kinds of actions considered thefts by the MPAA:

* Theatrical print theft: Stealing the physical film from an authorized showing establishment, or straight from the studio. This form of theft is serious because it allows the thief to make high quality duplicates of the film for personal use or to resell for profit.

* Signal theft: when someone illegally taps into cable TV systems and receives programs usually paid for by the viewer at no cost. Many thieves have made substantial amounts of money selling devices specially designed to tap into cable or receive unauthorized satellite transmissions.

* Digital picture theft (via the internet): the internet can be easily utilized to download stolen or decoded movies. Some people are unaware that this kind of action is a theft! These things are considered a theft because they are taken from the internet without prior consent to the copyright owner. Just because money was exchanged (which many internet download sites and programs may ask of you to do to trick you into thinking it is a legitimate service) DOES NOT mean that it is legitimate. Even illegally hosting and streaming music for others, who did not purchase the music, is considered illegal.

The MPAA goes through great efforts to catch and prosecute offenders. Besides, how would you feel if you spent millions of dollars and thousands of hours producing a movie to sell to the public and instead of seeing profit for your hard work and time spent, you see nothing? This is why the MPAA considers such acts as those stated above as stealing.

Charles Weber is an upcoming writer who researches various topics concerning the internet, media production, and other current events topics. Content should be taken as information and not legal advice. His website with more information about copyrights can be found

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Licensing your Copyrighted Works by SD Lawyer

A copyright license agreement sets for the terms under which a third party can use your content. In legal language, you will the "licensor" with the other party being the "licensee." The purpose of the agreement is to set forth the terms under which you, the licensor, will grant the third party, licensee, the right to use, publish or reuse your copyrighted work in exchange for a royalty. Let’s take a closer look at key components of the licensing agreement.

Specific Rights Granted

This may sound obvious, but the agreement needs to detail exactly what copyrighted material can be used. If you have copyrighted articles, are you granting a right to use all of the articles or only certain ones? It is highly recommended that the agreement contain a detailed description of the exact materials being covered.

Once you agree upon the exact materials, you need to determine any restrictions on how the material can be used. Can the material be used on the Internet or will it be restricted to a certain niche’ such as manuals or collections of materials?

An extremely important issue is whether the agreement grants exclusive or non-exclusive rights. In English, this simply defines whether the licensor can grant similar rights to other parties. The grant of exclusive licenses should require a much larger royalty rate since you are essentially betting the third party will be successful.

Licensing Royalties

In exchange for your copyrighted work, the third party is going to make royalty payments to you. The particular amount of the royalty is dependent upon the nature of your work. Issues to consider include:

1) Will you be paid a flat amount or percentage of sales?

2) If a percentage, will it be figured from gross revenues or something less?

3) How often will you be paid?

4) What rights will you have to audit the books of the third party to determine you are getting the full royalty?

In some situations, you may decide to forgo a royalty payment. This usually occurs when the third party will use the materials in manner that produces massive publicity for you. For example, many professionals seek to right columns for publications as a marketing tool. Often, they will not charge the publication for the material because the resulting publicity carries enough of a benefit.

In Closing

If you are considering licensing copyrighted content, keep the above in mind. Since such agreements are difficult to break, hiring an attorney is worth the expense.

For More Article Visit ::

Friday, January 23, 2009

Special Event Videography & Copyright Compliance by Amanda Nella

You have just filmed the perfect wedding/birthday/bris/special event and you have a fantastic piece of current music that you know is going to compliment your superb editing and "in your face" transitions. In fact it is so good you have obtained permission from the client and you are going to stream part of it on your website to showcase your incredible talents to prospective clients. So are you copyright compliant or a silly bunny about to inadvertently pilfer another's hard work, sweat and tears, by not affording them the correct royalties or recognition?

If you are the bunny variety, you are not doing yourself, the artist or other videographers any favours. You may not be a hardened criminal with a special place reserved in hell, but you will be stuck in the elevator heading down there listening to the best of Kenny G.

Lets explore a couple of commonly held myths.

I have purchased a music CD from a valid source, I can do what I want with the music as I paid for it.

No my little 'Oryctolagus cuniculus' (aka bunny) you can not. It is not owned by you, but by those that created it. You have merely purchased the medium by which you can listen to the aforesaid music.

I have recorded a public event and commercial music was played during that event which I have captured on film. I can do whatever I choose with my recording because it was an event in the public arena.

No, sorry. It is still copyright music and not for you to use without the appropriate permission.

I have done the right thing and purchased copyright music. As I have paid a small fortune for it, I can now do what I like with it.

You are getting warmer, but it is royalty free music not copyright, it is still the property of the artists that wrote it. You can only use it in the manner prescribed by them. Read their terms and conditions.

Lets start with some basics. Do you have a license? 'A license?' you say incredulously. Within Australia prosumer/professional videographers who create domestic videos are required to purchase a limited music license from APRA/AMCOS either on a job by job basis or annually. Individual events are around $50.00 with the yearly fee currently standing at $418.00 (2008). The license is called a Domestic Use Video License and it allows for the use of commercial music. The terms, conditions and application form can be located at APRA.

The following restrictions apply:

Music may not be reproduced onto a production that is to be commercially marketed in any way, such as a corporate video, training film or videos made for sale to the general public.

The video may not contain any promotional or advertising material.

The video may not be screened to the general public or be used as a promotional tool.
The video is produced to be viewed in a private domestic setting only and distribution is limited to individuals that appear in the production.
Careful if your client wants to send their video overseas to friends and family.
The licensee may not make any more than 20 copies of any one domestic use video.

'Ok', I hear you say,'I'll get a license for my video productions but I want to put my video on the web. How do I ensure copyright compliance?' Well, you can purchase royalty free music from a number of sources online. Generally a thirty second to three minute track will cost around $40.00 and once again you don't own it, you are only buying permission to use it in the public arena. An internet search will identify many companies that can provide music to suit any taste and video theme. You can purchase by individual track or compilation CD, which generally will be the cheaper method.

Alternatively you can do a bit of internet research and locate new aspiring artists who are willing to trade music for exposure. This can be an inexpensive and mutually beneficial method of securing royalty and cost free music.

'But', you say imploringly, 'I want to use current Top 40 music.' Well you can't! Unless, you approach Britney in rehab, or Amy in rehab, or get the picture and they say 'Sure, please use my fantastic piece of music to compliment your Bris video, hmm nice transitions.' Then you are copyright compliant, although I don't like your chances.

Think about it in reverse, how would you feel if someone copied your amazing video and sold it on istock? One of the problems faced by professional videographers is that we can not be certain where our films will end up or how they will be used. But by purchasing the correct license, by adhering to copyright restrictions and informing our clients accordingly at least we afford music artists their dues and hopefully dodge an eternity of Kenny G and other hellishly related musak.

Amanda Nella is a professional videographer who operates her own special event video business in Perth WA. She provides quality documentary style films for parents about their children. She is trained in the field of investigative interviewing. She holds Diplomas in Investigations, SCAn,Stage Production, Computer Programming & Business. Visit her site at Bump2babyFilms

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Life Imprisonment For Copyright Fraud Could Be Enforced Soon

The penalties for copyright fraud could soon be much severe. What would you think a reasonable punishment for pirating a copy of windows would be? A slapped wrist and don't do it again? A fine? How much though? Maybe about double the cost of buying it in the first place? Yeah, that sounds about fair.

On a related note what types of crimes do you think would merit a life sentence?. In America, legislation has been proposed that would mean certain kinds of copyright infringement could carry a life sentence penalty. Its not quite the death sentence but it is not far off.

Entitled the Intellectual Property Act 2007, the new legislation encompasses several new definitions and provisions of crimes.

These include:

Criminalising attempting to infringe copyright-on the grounds that where most laws are concerned, attempting to commit the crime is as illegal as actually committing it. This doesn't entirely seem to make sense though.

Currently Federal Law does punishes not-for-profit copyright infringement(like downloading/copying media for your own use) with between one and ten years imprisonment, but the infringement must have to been proven to have taken place.. This new legislation seems to remove the burden of proof, or to make evidence unnecessary.

Adding penalties for intended copyright crime-i.e. for profit copyright infringements that don't actually manage to make any profits.

Currently, it's required that the criminal distribute at least 10 copies within a 180 day period. Now the new bill will state that they did not have to get round to doing that in order to be punished. This again it is removing the need for evidence.

Permitting more wire-tapping for piracy investigations. Also allowing computers to be seized more readily.

Increasing the penalties for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Just to round things off, the new legislation also contained increased punishments for repeat offenders, and a requirement that RIAA be notified of anyone trying to import copyright infringing material.

Obviously, this bill has not been passed yet, and from where were standing, does not seem particularly likely to be. So its possible this is just one of those media get hold of something and blow it out of proportion.

Not to mention that even if this legislation did get implemented in the US, it might not make it over the Atlantic.

So to summarize this whole discussion i think that there should be tougher punishment for for offenders who use copright material for profit, whether it leads to life imprisonment is another matter. To be honest in my opinion i think a lesser sentence should be enforced.

About the Author:
Chidi Rodney Akomas is an ebook entreprenuer, internet marketer and aricle writer who has written articles on various topic all over the web. To take a look a his work and free reports go to free reports

Friday, January 16, 2009

Copyright - What Can you Protect?

Copyright Protection? - Yes

Copyright protects "original works of authorship" in a tangible, fixed form of expression. The material does need to be directly perceptible as long as it can be expressed with the aid of technology. A good example of this is a movie, which requires a projection device of some sort.

Materials that can be copyrighted include:

1. Literary works;

2. Musical works, including any accompanying words

3. Dramatic works, including any accompanying music

4. Pantomimes and choreographic works

5. Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works

6. Motion pictures and other audiovisual works

7. Sound recordings

8. Architectural works

Each of these categories is traditionally given a very broad reading. For instance, "literary works" include computer programs and plans for building a home are considered "pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works." While copyright cuts a broad path, it doesn't cover everything.

Protected by Copyright? - No

If a work is not tangible, copyright protection will not apply. This can lead to confusion, so here are a few categories not eligible for protection from copyright:

1. Works that are not fixed. For example, the statements made by experts at a round table discussion or a comedian's stage act.

2. Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans. These materials may be eligible for patent protection.

3. Ideas, procedures and methods.

Copyright protection is a valuable intellectual property tool. If it all possible, copyright the material you produce to prevent others from misusing it.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

What Copywriters Need to Know About The Proper Use Of Copyright

I was recently approached by a copywriter who was confused about the proper use of copyright. He explained that the client had hired him for work, then canceled the job part way through, paying him for work done to date.

Perhaps because the work was unfinished, and thinking there may be some future use for it, the copywriter expressed that felt he should retain copyright, and was perplexed when the client got into a snit about it.

I understand the idea to save good work that never got published, hoping to "recycle" it in future jobs. For years I hung on to a two-inch think file of unused concepts.

When a new job came along that required concepting, I'd leaf through the folder looking for something that would "fit" the new challenge.

Alas, I never did find a perfect fit between an old concept and a new job. And one day I realized I never would. That's because every job is unique. Every product is unique, every audience is unique, every marketing objective is unique. The strongest concept would once again have to come from my head. I threw out the contents of the file and never looked back.

So the lesson learned is that if you can't even recycle a concept, you'll never be able to recycle copy, which is much more granular.

Therefore it makes no sense to try and retain copyright; if your work is "for hire," meaning that you're being paid to do the writing, you can't retain copyright anyway.

The United States Copyright Act gives the purchaser of the work sole copyright. To understand the difference, you, the copywriter, would retain copyright of a work you did not do for hire. For instance, no one is paying me to write this article. So I'm able to retain copyright, and market the article as I see fit.

One final important note about copywriters and copyrights. You do retain copyright until the work is paid in full. So use this fact to your advantage. Make sure your Fee Agreement points out that you will retain copyright until paid in full. It's a powerful way to use the work-for-hire copyright law to your advantage; I'm sure that having this clause in my own Fee Agreement has saved me some grief over the years.

Award-winning copywriter Chris Marlow publishes a free newsletter for freelancers who want to build a successful business. Visit: FreelancersBusinessBulletin © Chris Marlow, all rights reserved

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Songwriters: Important Copyright Information

Songwriting is a cathartic exercise that allows musicians to escape the conundrums of daily routines. From the first spark of melody to the flicker of promising lyrics, the process of creating something from nothing is genuinely rewarding. Just as painters display their work on gallery walls, song writers are driven to gauge public reaction of their compositions. Whether performing the number at an open mic night at the corner coffee house or posting it on a music community sites like, the music is out in the open to entertain audiences.

However, many songwriters hesitate before sharing their creative property for fear of other artists stealing their original ideas. This is where a copyright comes in. It's important to note that original work is copyrighted the moment it is recorded on paper, computer file or disc. Protecting the work, though, is another issue.

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, "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 official U.S. Copyright site features a list of these rights and includes the three basic steps to securing your own official sound recording copyright--which requires an approximate six-month turn around and a $45 registering fee.

For home made artists looking for a cheap alternative to the watertight and time-tested U.S. Copyright Office method, the myth of the "poor man's copyright" may satisfy. The basic concept is to mail a copy of the work (recorded song and lyrics) to yourself and leave the envelope unopened until the day you have to prove you created the material yourself. Unfortunately, it would be easy to fraudulently duplicate this method by mailing an unsealed envelope to yourself and, therefore, appears to hold little legal value. For more pros and cons on the poor man's copyright, visit, which notes "Cheap copyright methods have never proved as reliable as the official methods."

Posting songs online at sites like could be considered a new, tech-savvy poor man's copyright since you would have a link to the existing music in addition to the website's record of the original posting date. A search for information to back up this simple online copyright solution came up empty, so it may or may not be any more effective than mailing a copy of the song to yourself.

Music business attorney and author Don Passman said it best in a article when he backed up the argument to go through proper channels when claiming ownership for creative material: "You don't need it 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 a date, and you can prove you wrote it before that, then it helps."

Read additional music-related articles by visiting or the Echoboost Blog.