Sunday, February 22, 2009

Copyright Issues - What You Need To Know by Chris Angus

The minute you upload something online you become a publisher. As an online publisher it is your responsibility to know a little bit about copyright law. This book is not a legal guide however here are some of the basic things that you need to know about blogging on the Internet.
First of all if you are going to copy someone else's material you must ask permission first. This means contacting the author or the publisher and asking them for reprint rights. However sometimes the availability rights are printed right on the article along with information that you must credit to the author. This could include the date of original publication, where it was first published or the name of the publisher if it is from a book. Some articles may not be quoted or reprinted from unless you also provide a link to the URL of the author's choice.

Crediting an article to its rightful source is called attribution. You must always attribute the work of others and you must do it every time you quote from the article. This is true of direct quotes and paraphrasing. You can't condense someone else's writing and then assume that the readers will know that it belongs to ideas that are quoted earlier on in the article. That is called plagiarism.

Another important copyright issue is "fair use." This is a legally defined terms that allows U.S. citizens to copy and distribute the work of others as long as they adhere to certain legal terms. For instance, in the United States bloggers are allowed to quote sentences and short passages as long as the quote is credited to the author.

However giving credit is sometimes not enough and length may have a great deal to do with what you can replicate on the web. For instance you cannot copy and distribute your favorite piece of music through a web blog. Also laws vary from country to country. Don't fall for the common myth that it is somehow all right to copy material by writers from other countries just because it is the Internet.

Small Business Copyright Issues by George Meszaros

Short Copyright Facts

The owner of a copyright has the exclusive right:

* to copy the work
* to modify the work
* to distribute the work
* to perform the work publicly
* to display the work publicly

Copyright is important when you obtain content for your site, and in the protection of your content. Copyrightable works are usually on the form of text, image, music, etc. Facts, titles, recipes, form designs, alphabetical lists and other items do not have the required "originality" to merit copyright protection.

One of the misconceptions about copyright protection is that you have to register your work to gain legal protection. If you do protect your original works, you are more likely to win attorneys' fees and, sometimes, higher damages.

The term "Public Domain" does not mean that everything in public or on the Internet is free from copyright protection. It refers to items that either do not qualify for copyright protection, or for which the protection has expired. The default you should assume for other people's works is that they are copyrighted and may not be copied unless you know otherwise.

The correct form for a notice on your web site is:
"Copyright [dates] by [author/owner]"

You can use C in a circle © instead of "Copyright" but "(C)" has never been given legal force. The phrase "All Rights Reserved" used to be required in some nations but is now not legally needed most places.

Even if you don't charge anyone for a product that contains copyrighted materials, you are still violating the law. An example of such an unlawful act would be when Napster enabled widescale download of copyrighted music.

One exception would be fair use. Copyright law does not block your freedom to express your own works. For example, you may be reviewing an article from a news paper's web site that requires you to reproduce some of the work on your site is not the same as simply copying the work to your site so you don't have to create your own work. Of course, that does not mean that you can start posting articles from other web sites and pretend you are reviewing them, but you are simply stealing content to cut corners.

One of the key to the fair use doctrine is that you can not diminish the value of the original work. Copying just 300 words from Gerald Ford's 200,000 word memoir for a magazine article was ruled as not fair use, in spite of it being very newsworthy, because it was the most important 300 words - why he pardoned Nixon.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Legal Copyright Eligibility For Copyright Protection by James Brown

There are many laws that protect people in the world. Some of these laws are meant to protect rights covered under the Bill of Rights, and other rights are meant to protect the things we create. The eligibility for copyright protection is extended to anyone who is able to create something that is tangible.

There are international laws that provide copyright protection, and the laws for people living in the United States are covered under the doctrine of 17 USCA Section 102(a). The eligibility for copyright protection is clearly outlined in this document and business owners would fare well to spend a little bit of time reading through this doctrine because it may keep someone else from stealing the royalties of your work.

The eligibility for copyright protection extends to any tangible thought that is applied to paper. If it is still in your mind or in the development process where the idea has not been put down on paper or some other solid form, then the eligibility for copyright protection will not apply to it. Some people expect this to apply and are sorely disappointed when they are turned down at the copyright registration office.

If you want to create a novel or other literary work, then it would qualify for eligibility for copyright protection. Perhaps you are a photographer or a tourist who captured an exquisite photo of an event that is a once-in-a-life time experience. Since you placed yourself at great risk taking the photograph, you want to register the photo and copyright it so that other people can not make money from it without your approval. That photograph falls under the eligibility for copyright protection.

If you wanted to create a description of the photograph, then that description would qualify for eligibility for copyright protection as long as it is written down. The information can be stored on any means that you like such as compact disk, a computer or included as a caption underneath the picture and framed. All methods used to create the description fall under the eligibility for copyright protection.

Although a sculpture would not be considered a written work, it is still a method of expression that has a solid and tangible form to it. The sculpture falls under the auspices of eligibility for copyright protection. No further documentation is really necessary. It is real and can be held. Therefore, it is protected by copyright from the second it is created. That fact should spur the creative juices in many people who were unaware of what is covered under copyright protection.

If you have only an idea to reflect on, then that idea does not fall under the auspices of eligibility for copyright protection. The idea might be covered under a confidentiality agreement if you hire someone to take your idea and develop a product description from it, or content for your business website. When the idea becomes a mode for expression, then it maintains eligibility for copyright protection.

James Brown writes about Rocket Lawyer coupon codes, LegalMatch discounts and Promo codes

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Protect Your Ideas With Copyrights and Patents by Tim Knox

Can you tell me the difference between a copyright and a patent? Also is that something I should let a lawyer handle for me?

A wise man once said, "The biggest difference between a copyright and a patent is the number of lawyers it takes to do the paperwork." There is a point to be made there, mainly that if this wise man had paid his attorney to copyright that tidbit of wisdom I probably would have had to pay him five bucks to use the quote.

Copyrights, trademarks and patents are similar in that they are designed by law to protect your rights of ownership, but that's where the similarity ends. A copyright protects a creative work; a trademark protects a brand or company identity; and a patent protects an invention or process.

A copyright protects the rights of anyone who creates an "original work of authorship." A copyright owner has the exclusive right to reproduce the work; prepare spin-off works based on the copyrighted work; and to sell, perform and/or display the copyrighted work in public.

Copyright protection is afforded to eight categories of creative works: literary works (the written word); musical works (lyrics, music, melodies); dramatic works (plays, scripts, screenplays); artistic works (pictorial and sculptural), sound recordings (LPs, CDs, audio tapes); choreographic works (dance, pantomime); audiovisual works; and architectural works (blueprints, designs, renderings).

An original work is automatically copyrighted the moment it is put into a fixed format such as a paper copy or recording. In other words, once you put your original story in writing or make a recording of an original song, your copyright is automatically secured. From that moment on your work has copyright protection for your lifetime, plus 50 years after your death.

Registering a work with the U.S. Copyright Office is not required, but since it is relatively simple and inexpensive to do so, I advise that you register a copyright for each work you wish to protect. Also, your copyright must be registered in order to take legal action against someone who might infringe on the copyright in the future.

You can register a copyright without the assistance of an attorney. Simply visit the U.S. Copyright office website at and download the appropriate form. Complete the form and send it in with a $30 nonrefundable filing fee. This must be done for each individual work you wish to protect.

A patent is a form of protection granted to an inventor that protects his invention in the United States for up to 20 years from the date of application. Patent law states that, "whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or any new and useful improvements thereof may obtain a patent." Owning a patent gives you the legal right to stop someone else from making, using or selling your invention (or one that's very close to it) without your permission. However, proving that someone is infringing on your patent is often difficult and usually requires a trial to settle the dispute.

Since the first U.S. patent was awarded in 1790, more than five million patents have been awarded. The patent office receives more than 230,000 patent applications every year and I can tell you from personal experience that a turtle on Prozac moves faster than the patent process. Patents can take several years, truckloads of paperwork, and considerable legal fees to obtain. The cost of obtaining a patent can run from $500 for a simple design patent to $50,000 and more for a complex utility patent. However, if your company has a truly patentable idea, you would be wise to invest the time and money required to secure your rights. A good patent can be a valuable business asset.

While you can file a patent yourself, I strongly advise that you use an attorney since a naively written patent application often isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Just recently my attorney did a patent search for me only to discover that a patent for a similar product was already in place. However, due to the ineffectual language of the patent application, the patent was practically impossible for the owner to enforce.

Good news for me. Not so good news for the wise man who wrote his own patent.

Here's to your success!

Tim Knox is a nationally-known small business expert who writes and speaksfrequently on the topic. For more information or to contact Tim please visit one of his sites below.

Friday, February 6, 2009

How to Copyright and Protect your Material by Duane Jacobson

I have many people to contact me, to get information about how to copyright their material. For nondramatic literary works: including fiction, nonfiction, books, short stories, poems, collection of poetry, essays, articles in serials, and/or computer programs.

Go to your local library and ask for the Short Form TX. You must answer all questions in all the boxes. You "must" send a copy of your material that you want copyrighted, along with processing fee, and application form to: Library of Congress, Copyright Office, 101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

* Note: Copyright fees can change at any time, please contact the Copyright Office for a current fee pricing. You may write to the above address or call (202) 707-3000. If you do not want to be identified as the author, you must use the Standard Form TX

I am not affiliated or employed with Library of Congress, if you have any questions please call Library of Congress of the number given. I hope this information is helpful, to those that are needing assistance in getting their work copyrighted. Good Luck!!

For Short Form TX go to:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Authors Have a Duty to Assert Their Copyrights by Jon Fischer

I am speaking to every "author" out there. Not just authors of articles and books, but also authors of web sites, programs, photographs, graphic design. I am speaking of authors expansively as defined under the Copyright Laws. I am speaking to the creators of original works of authorship that are placed in a tangible medium of expression.

My message to all of you; all of us is: we each have a duty to each other to come down hard on people who steal our work online.

It is no secret that theft is rampant on the Internet. It is happening every day. It happens to each of us who have a strong web presence and create original content eventually. If it has not yet happened to you, it will. Your time will come.

As authors we work very hard to create. It is our creativity that we are putting out there. It is our late nights. It is our idea that becomes a reality.

When that idea is stolen and appropriated by someone else we do, and we should, feel violated. I think back to an incident that happened when I was in college; longer ago that I care to remember. I was away for the weekend and when I returned my apartment had been broken into and my stereo (the prized possession of a college student) and some other items had been stolen. I will never forget that feeling of being violated.

Now fast forward to today. After working very hard for several years to create a business by creating my own original technology legal documents and marketing them on the Internet, I have found that another company is selling my documents online, fully intact without revision and competing with me. Again, I feel violated. And I am angry. I know who these people are and I am going after them.

There seems to be a large part of the Internet community that seems to think that it is just fine to steal someone else's hard work and then profit off it. That is why I say that everyone out there who has put there blood, sweat and tears into playing by the rules and creating their own original content needs to come down hard on people who violate their rights. Do this for yourself, but also do this for all of us. Do this so that group of people who would steal the work of someone else are stopped. Do it so that the message finally gets through, so the stories of people paying up for their actions get circulated. So it to help clean up the Internet from these dishonest people and businesses.

Sometimes they say that the biggest events in life are the biggest motivators. Obviously from my articles on this topic readers will be able to detect that I have been deeply affected by this theft of my work. It is pretty transparent.

I hope that this article inspires someone who may be just found out that someone else is using their work without permission to take strong action against them. Stealing your material is theft, plain and simple.

Jon Fischer is the owner of the following Legal and Business Sites. Offering legal document packages for online businesses, IT companies, corporate, real estate and estate planning packages.

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