Monday, August 29, 2011

Copyright Infringement Basics - A Copyright Lawyer's Perspective

By Enrico Schaefer

Few legal principles inspire more confusion than copyright law. Our copyright lawyers often spend as much time educating our clients as we do digging into their specific legal issues. Copyright law, like other intellectual property rights, is inevitably fact specific. Obtaining legal advice about your specific situation from a qualified copyright attorney is critical. Educating yourself about US copyright law so that you understand what your lawyer is telling you is just as important.

Copyright infringement is the unauthorized use of material that is covered by US copyright law, in a way which violates one of the copyright owner's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works. A copyright holders exclusive rights include the right to: reproduce the copyrighted work; prepare derivative works based upon the work; distribute copies of the work to the public; perform the copyrighted work publicly; and display the copyrighted work publicly.

In order to prove a copyright violation of these exclusive rights under U.S. law, a copyright holder copyright holder must show that he/she is the "owner" of an original work and a prima facie case for infringement. Ownership of a copyright is established by showing "authorship" of an original work fixed in a tangible medium - articles, books, pictures, movies, musical recordings, etc. The person who created the original work is the copyright holder. A copyright holder may 'assign' the copyright to a third person, who then has all the exclusive rights of the original author, including reproduction, performance or the making of derivative works. The issue of who actually owns a copyright is one of the most overlooked and oversimplified issues. Some employers assume they own copyrights to their employees work. Employees and independent contractors sometimes incorrectly assume that they own work prepared for third parties. Ownership issues need to be identified and clarified early. Simply claiming ownership or an original work and registering the copyright may leave your copyright registration open to attack at a later date when rights are being asserted.

US Copyright laws help define the basics of copyrights. Section 17 U.S.C. § 102(a) provides: "Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." An idea is not copyrightable , although it might be patentable. Expression of an idea in a fixed tangible form (i.e., in written pages of a book, on a CD, on a web page, on canvas, as a printed photograph) affords the possibility of copyright protection. While these principles sound complicated, an experienced copyright lawyer can help you understand whether you can copyright protect your original work and receive the protection which copyright law affords.

Infringement occurs when a third person copies the copyright protected work. Unauthorized copying is proved with direct evidence (sometimes copying is obvious or admitted) or inference (not surprisingly, infringers often deny copying). Circumstantial evidence of copying is often important to show infringement.

Registration of a your original work with the US Copyright office is not required for you to have common law rights. However, registration is often critical for enforcement and must occur before filing an infringement suit in Federal Court. Our copyright lawyers often receive calls from authors of original work who failed to register their works before learning of infringement. This can be a critical mistake making enforcement challenging or impossible.

Copyright claims are on the upswing as the internet makes 'copying' as easy as the click of a mouse. Original works are harder than ever to protect. Luckily, innovations in technology makes tracking infringement almost as easy as unauthorized copying. But you aren't protected if you are not monitoring. Owners of original works need to understand how to register their works, as well as how to track on-line infringement in order to maintain their value as the author.

Enrico Schaefer is a copyright lawyer, specializing in intellectual property matters and on-line protection. Go to his web site to learn more about US copyright law or contact a copyright infringement lawyer directly for a free consultation, as well as the particular problems presented by on-line infringement.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Google Images for Royalty Free Photos?

By Stephen Browne

Searching Google Images is a great way to locate very targeted photos, artwork, drawings, logos, banners, and just about any other type of graphical image you can imagine.

With Google's Advanced Image Search feature, anyone can quickly find niche images segregated by types such as faces, photos, clip art, and line drawings.

In addition, image searches based on your desired niche key words can be filtered by exact size, aspect ratio, file type, black and white vs. color, Internet site, and usage rights.

It is with this last filter that I want to draw your attention.

Most Internet users should know that there are serious copyright infringement issues that keep the public from simply copying and re-using other people's work.

Nowhere is it easier to copy and steal another's hard work than online.

Copyright does not merely protect the written word.

You see, images and photos are also copyrighted as are various mediums of artwork, banners, buttons, headers, e-covers, web designs, and on and on.

For the most part, the images you will find as a result of searching on Google Images will be copyright protected. In fact, you should assume all are.

You are forewarned that copying and re-using these images can get you in a heap of trouble!

There is an exception, however, and that is what I want to bring to your attention.

In Google Image's Advanced Search feature is a filter that allows the user to look for images with certain "Usage Rights."

I have spoken to very few people who actually know about this little gem.

By filtering for usage rights, you can ask Google to limit your image search to only images that are:

  • not filtered by license
  • labeled for reuse
  • labeled for commercial reuse
  • labeled for reuse with modification
  • labeled for commercial reuse with modification
  • Let's do a quick search for some niche images to see what we can find.

Let's say I have a new web site all about baking cookies and I want some images for the site as well as my soon-to-be-released book I'm going to title: Chocolate Chip Cookies -- 101 Best Recipes.

We go to Google Images ( ), click on the Advanced Image Search, and set the "find results" filter to "related to the exact phrase" then type in our key word phrase "chocolate chip cookies."

For our purposes here we will not filter by image size, aspect ratio, coloration, etc.

But we will filter the Usage Rights to return images that are "labeled for commercial reuse with modification."

By using this filter, we should be able to find some great images that we can crop, re-size, add text to, etc.

In other words, we can modify the image for our own commercial purposes and publish it to our web site, the new book, our advertising campaigns, etc.

The search returned 105 results. Upon reviewing the images, many are not what I would want, but there are still some great looking, very professional images that I wouldn't hesitate to reuse.

Obviously, if you are not intending to use the image commercially, you will have more search results returned (this particular search filtered with "labeled for reuse" returned 198 results).

There are a number of good royalty free image sites online that you shouldn't overlook if you need some graphical images for your projects.

Now you can add Google Images to your list even if you have commercial intent. Just be sure to use the proper Usage Rights filter depending upon how you intend to make use of the image in your project.

You need help to create and run a successful online business. Steve Browne is educated, trained, and experienced in offline and online business creation and management and he is sharing his insights and guidance freely in his new money making blog. Join his blog subscriber list today and you'll receive a free copy of "Art of Money Getting" to help you get started. No cost, no obligation, no fluff, no sweat! Click on this link now to find help for your own profitable online business.

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How to Research the Copyright Status of a Book

  1. By Steven Chabotte
  2. When seeking US published works in the public domain, there is a gray area from 1923 to 1963 where the book may or may not be in the public domain. To determine if a book with a copyright in that date range is in the public domain and freely usable, take the following steps.
  3. Some background on copyright length in the United States
  4. Created 1-1-78 or after - Life + 70 years1(or if work of corporate authorship, the shorter of 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation
  5. Published before 1923 - In the public domain
  6. Published from 1923 - 1963 - 28 years + could be renewed for 47 years, now extended by 20 years for a total renewal of 67 years. If not so renewed, now in public domain.
  7. Published from 1964 - 77 - 28 years for first term; now automatic extension of 67 years for second term
  8. Created before 1-1-78 but not published - Life + 70 years or 12-31-2002, whichever is greater
  9. Created before 1-1-78 but published between then and 12-31-2002 - Life + 70 years or 12-31-2047 whichever is greater

There is one other issue to be aware of - and that is derivative works. For instance, you may find a current book that is apparently a reprint of a public domain book that bears a copyright notice. You may think that because the original book is public domain that this book should be too. Don't let yourself get caught in that trap and use material from this copyrighted book. The way copyright works is that you can create a derivative work from an original public domain work and copyright that derivative work.

The original book is still public domain but the derivative work would not be. If you want to use this material, you must find the original book and use that as your basis because you can never be sure what was changed/edited in the derivative work and if you start copying it, you may fall afoul of a copyright violation.


If you find a useful book published before 1923, that is great. You don't need to do any verification work to create your product. However, if the book was copyrighted between 1923 and 1963, it may still be under copyright. Estimates are that only 15% of all materials copyrighted in this period were renewed so there is a TON of material available for your use in this period. And much of that material was equivalent to best sellers today so there are many hidden gems out there just waiting to be freshened up and revealed to the world again.

So how do you verify the copyright expiration of one of these books?

There are three approaches you can take. You can do it yourself, hire a law firm to do a search or have the copyright office perform a search for you.

Do it yourself

Doing it yourself is pretty easy but can be a bit time consuming.

If the book was copyrighted between 1950 and 1963, you can perform an online search at the copyright office at this link: This database contains copyright information from 1978 to the current date. Therefore it is limited to doing searches on books copyrighted from 1950 onward. (1950 + 28 = 1978 which is the year a book copyrighted in 1950 would have been renewed.)

If the book was published between 1923 and 1949, you can go to The Catalog of Copyright Entries. This is a manual search through a large number of alphabetic digitized images. It is a slow process but it is effective. Just to be complete, it is always a good idea to take a few minutes to check a few years around the year plus 28 just in case the renewal fell into another year.

As you do your research, you should print a copy of all the negative results and keep it in a folder as evidence of doing a copyright search.

Have the Copyright office do the search for you

The copyright office will perform a copyright search for you. They do charge an open fee (on an hourly basis) for performing the search and they do take a very long time (typically 6-12 weeks) so while this is an option, it is not a very popular option.

Hire a law firm

You can hire a law firm like Thompson & Thompson to perform a copyright search for you. It is reasonably priced and you will get a detailed report of the results of the copyright search that they performed. The search is reasonably priced and gives you the added security of having a law firm claiming that the copyright is expired and that the work is in the public domain in case there are disputes down the road.

Never perfect

Like any system, searching an expired copyright is not perfect. There may be other claims on a published work or errors and omissions in the copyright files due to human errors. Always keep good records of your search activities to protect yourself on that one in a million chance that there was an unknown claim on the work you choose to work with.

Take action now!

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How to Copyright or Trademark Your Business

by Tamara Garrison Thomas

In my business consulting, I have found that a lot of people do not know the difference between copyright and trademark. They do not know how to copyright a logo, website, blog or business name. Or in using the actual term, TRADEMARK their business. I used 'copyright' in the title because most people confuse the two. However, as I researched this subject I found out some interesting things...

Copyright is actually not the same as a trademark. According to the U.S. Copyright Office, a copyright provides protection for original works in the realms of music, poetry, movies, literature, etc. In fact, copyright exists as soon as the publication exists. It is just advised to register your publication with the U.S. Copyright Office for legal purposes. Some people also like to publish the copyright facts on their publications and make sure there is a public record. Registration fees vary from $35 to $80. It cost more money to renew, get copies, or search copyright records. Believe it or not, people steal ideas so you want to make sure you are protected. And for a mere $35 at least, I'd say it's a good idea to make sure your writings are safe, LEGALLY.

Now to the good stuff. A trademark is what is used to protect patents, trademarks, and ideas. This is handled in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). So, a business name, logo, or even business idea would fall under the trademark category. It is often confused with copyright but now you know the difference. The reason you would want to register for a trademark is to get legal use of a service mark (™, SM ,®) for your word, phrase, symbol, or design.

The benefits of getting the service mark is to protect your name. To keep people from stealing your ideas. Just like with copyright, if you claim ownership, you can use the ™ and SM symbols on your business name or logo at any time. But owning the federal trademark registration obviously has it's benefits legally. Some of which include, being able to defend your logo in federal courts, being listed in the USPTO database, and the use of the ® symbol. YES! You MUST be registered with the USPTO to use that symbol on your logos, etc. You cannot even use it if your application for registration is pending. So, there are great benefits to registering your business name and logo.

Now, keep in mind, the USPTO has the right to deny your registration application. Especially if there's a similar logo. So, you need to research and make sure your business name and logo are UNIQUE and fit federal regulations. When filing an application for trademark registration (or to get a service mark) you must file one application per category(class) you the need the service mark for. FOR EXAMPLE, if you need a service mark for a t-shirt logo AND for the store marquee, you must submit two applications. Application fees vary from $275-$325, depending on the type of application you submit.

I know it sounds a bit complex and confusing but registering your business name and logo are so worth the protection. Especially if you're an owner that offers services/goods, merchandiser, designer, or inventor that's about to BLOW UP! You can of course find out more and get an application at

For help on a business plan and development contact us today!

Tamara Garrison-Thomas

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Legal Music For YouTube - Four Ways to Address Client Concerns About Copyrights

By Mike Bielenberg

Let's assume you are a creative professional being compensated to create a video for a client. Let's also assume your client will NOT be broadcasting the video on television nor distributing it on DVD, but WILL be distributing the video on the internet (their website, YouTube etc), presenting it at meetings and even showing it at a trade shows. Let's also assume that you, the creative expert, are expected to handle any and all copyright clearances for the video, including the soundtrack.

How do you ensure your soundtrack is cleared for all these uses and that no embarrassing copyright issues will emerge down the road? The digital marketplace offers lots of music that can be used without paying any license fees, but there will always be a direct relationship between the amount you pay to use a piece of music and the amount of control you (or your client) have over that music. For example, that $0.89 you spent on iTunes for a Van Morrison single only allows you to enjoy that song on your iPod...and nothing else. But move that decimal point four places to the right and you can probably use it in your independent film until the cows come home. Here's the breakdown of everything in between:

I. Royalty-free music libraries

(*Full disclaimer: I co-own a royalty-free production music library).

For as little as $10, a production music library will deliver a high rez version of a piece of music to you along with a license document (or at least a receipt) that lists both you and your chosen track specifically. Because you're getting compensated by your client, it would be valuable for you to have a paper trail like this. Most royalty-free libraries will even conduct the music search for you at no charge. They know their library better than you. So why sift through thousands of tracks when you should be editing video?

What's the catch? Most stock music libraries won't carry famous songs that your client knows. They may carry "sound-a-likes", but that information definitely won't be listed on their website. You have to discuss that directly with a sales rep.

Also, a royalty-free music library is the most expense solution offered here. $10 is definitely the bottom of the price range whereas the average price is probably between $30 and $50 per track. If your client is willing to pay this fee in return for a relatively high degree of control over their music, then this is your best option.

II. Your own video software

I recently edited together a family video using iMovie and Soundtrack Pro and entered it into an online contest. While there wasn't a huge library of tracks, I quickly found something that worked well and incorporated it into my video quickly.In order to stay competitive, many video software makers completely buy out the copyrights to instrumental music tracks and bundle them with their product. Soundtrack Pro's license agreement reads as follows:

"You may broadcast and/or distribute your own soundtracks that were created using the Audio Content, however, individual audio files may not be commercially or otherwise distributed on a standalone basis, nor may they be repackaged in whole or in part as audio samples, sound files or music beds." That type of license should work fine for your project.

What's the catch? Selection. I've worked for organizations that bought copyrights outright and I can say from experience that a collection that is "wholly-owned" can never be as dynamic, large or comprehensive as a user contributed music library. You're at the mercy of what content Apple is willing to acquire. It's easy for libraries like that to become "stale" and overused.

III. YouTube's AudioSwap

YouTube's approach to copyright infringement has evolved into a simple ultimatum given to all major labels and movie studios: YouTube's software will block their copyrighted content, but wouldn't they rather just let it happen and share the ad revenue?

The answer from many of the major record labels is "yes".

Therefore, you could theoretically synchronize your client's video with Aerosmith's "Dream On" in hopes that Columbia records lets you slide on copyright infringement. Just be sure to cross both fingers and kiss a rabbit's foot as you upload the video.

In order to offer a less risky alternative, YouTube has received permission from lesser known bands and musicians to create an online music library from which creative professionals like yourself can choose a track from that library and let YouTube automatically synchronize the music track with your video. Some of these tracks are fairly well known.

What's the catch? Your video will ONLY play with that music on YouTube's website. And the music rights holder controls which ads run alongside your video. If your client plans to include this video in an email campaign or just embed it on their website, that may not be a deal breaker. But they ever want to present the video at a meeting or gathering of any kind, they'll need to ensure the location has an Internet connection.

In order to use this music for free, your client is essentially entering into partnership with this rights holder to help them earn more ad revenue for their song. Also, the rights holders of this music can withdraw their music from YouTube, and thus your video, at any time. Your client may ultimately be ok with these risks, but you should at least make them aware.

IV. Creative Commons

I've included this option last because Creative Commons rights are both complicated and, in sprit, not always supportive of commercial usage. There are no less than six (!) types of Creative Commons licenses. Assuming your client intends to directly or indirectly generate revenue from this video, you'll have to confine your music search to tracks that fall under the license called "Attribution-Only".You may find a "diamond in the rough" from this subset of music available through Creative Commons, but be aware that "Attribution" means you must credit the artist at some point in the video. Most clients are ok with that.

V. Conclusion

It's all about choosing what kind of parameters you and client are most comfortable working within: lack of control (AudioSwap or outright infringement), a music license that may cost up to $50 (stock music libraries) or a limited selection (creative commons or your video software).

Mike Bielenberg is a professional musician and co-founder of, a production music marketplace where media producers and business owners can license high-quality, affordable royalty-free music from an online community of musicians.

Using Creative Commons in Conjunction With Article Marketing

By Jason Bacot

"Creative Commons" is a relatively new search concept that many of the major search engines are utilizing lately. Yahoo, Google, and Firefox have launched Beta versions of the "Creative Commons" search feature and they have been steadily increasing in popularity recently. The goal of this feature is to locate content posted on the Internet that carries a "Creative Commons" type of license. Content carrying this license can be shared with others and is of great benefit to article marketers all over the world because it greatly increases their exposure.

Exposure is very important to article writers because without it, their visibility is very limited. Articles given a "Creative Commons" license can be published on many different websites, thereby greatly increasing the writer's exposure. In addition, submitting these articles to the major search engines that are using the "Creative Commons" search feature will get the articles distributed to a huge number of people.

There are a few things you must do, however, in order to submit your articles to the search engines carrying the "Creative Commons" search features. First, you must decide upon the type of license you need by going to the creative commons website and studying the different types.

Next, you will need to decide if you would like to permit your articles to be used commercially, as well as if you would want to let your articles be modified in any way by the sites using them. You will be asked to make these decisions before proceeding so think about this beforehand and be prepared. Once you do this, you will need to select your license.

After these first two steps are completed, you will be directed to a page that will instruct you to cut and then copy some text displayed there. You will be able to paste this copied text onto your own website. The copied text will state that your articles now have a "Creative Commons" type of license.

Before making the decisions in the second step, you need to think carefully. It really makes no sense to allow others to modify your articles. Modification could render them confusing and less valuable. If you have worked hard to make your article persuasive and magnetic, you don't want someone coming along that will cut out or change part of it. This could change it in such a way that would render it useless. If you are trying to build your reputation so that you can increase your customer base, you should not allow anyone to modify your work. Doing so could really bring harm to what you are trying to do. Keep in mind, too, that "Creative Commons" licenses cannot be revoked. Once you make the decision regarding type and preferences, you won't be able to change it.

Once your decisions are made and you have the license displayed on your website, the "Creative Commons" search engines should start picking it up within two to three weeks. Make sure you place some well-thought-out back-links in various places on the web. These measures will cause many links to be created that will point directly to your website. You should really take advantage of the exposure the "Creative Commons" license will provide for you if you want your business to experience significant growth.

Want to learn more about Article Marketing and How to Make Money Online, then check out our Article Marketing SEO Service to get started.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Copyright Registration Is Not A Pre Condition To Protection

by John J Tormey III, Esq -

Contrary to the near-indefatigable lay assumption that entertainment attorneys like myself hear all the time, one is not required to register a copyright in one's work with the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. (or elsewhere) as a condition precedent for U.S. copyright protection. In other words, the New York-based author in Chelsea, for example, already has copyright protection in his or her finished original work of authorship, under U.S. federal law, just as soon as the work is reduced to a tangible medium of expression in New York. That copyright protection is automatic, and inheres in the Chelsea-situate New York author immediately, his or her entertainment lawyer will opine.

Therefore, when the New York entertainment attorney hears the Chelsea-based New York writer saying "I 'copyrighted' my novel by registering it with the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office in Washington, D.C.", the writer is usually operating under a mistaken set of geographic and legal assumptions. It is incumbent upon entertainment lawyers to correct those assumptions. This one is a particularly difficult myth to explode - because members of Congress, those that write and edit case law, and a few jurisprudential scholars have been known to use "copyrighted" as a verb form, too. When I hear it, it sounds to me like nails on a chalkboard.

So, "No", the New York entertainment attorney replies to the New York writer in Chelsea, "you already had automatic copyright protection in your work as soon as you wrote down the text - as soon as you reduced your vision to a 'tangible medium of expression'. Your act of mailing it from a post office on Manhattan's West Side in New York City, to Washington D.C., isn't what engendered the copyright. Rather, your prior act of crystallizing it in a tangible medium here in downtown West Side New York - pen to paper, or keystroke to hard-drive - is what caused the copyright in your work to be born. The New York entertainment attorney then explains that the phrases and verb forms "to copyright" or "I copyrighted" should probably be avoided outright - certainly avoided as synonyms for "registration" or "filing" - specifically to prevent that kind of lay confusion. After all, if the Chelsea screenwriter in New York "copyrighted"[sic] his or her work only by mailing it to Washington D.C. on Friday morning, then that would imply that no copyright yet existed in the work when he or she completed the final draft, hit the "Save" button on his keyboard, and printed it out in hard-copy form in his or her Chelsea home office in Manhattan on the Thursday evening prior - and that conclusion would be legally incorrect. In that fact pattern, the entertainment lawyer opines, the copyright existed and the screenwriter owned it as of Thursday evening based upon the events that happened in downtown West Side New York.

The process of U.S. copyright registration is just an after-occurring formality, though it is one which entertainment attorneys (from New York, and yes, even elsewhere in places like Hollywood) handle for their clients often. In other words, the work is already copyright-protected prior to one's mailed submission of the work from New York or any other city, to the U.S. Copyright Office and Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Yes, U.S. copyright registration does thereafter provide certain advantages over unregistered works, as your entertainment lawyer will tell you. But copyright registration is not itself a pre-requisite for copyright protection. The copyright protection exists first. The copyright filing comes second.

After all, the USCO form specifically asks the filer when - in what year - his or her work was completed. You could in theory file in 2011 for a 2006-completed work. In that case, the copyright would have existed as of 2006.

Under the U.S. Copyright Act, (which can be found at various locations on the Internet, at 17 United States Code [U.S.C.] Section 101 and following), the author of an original and otherwise-protectable work automatically possesses a copyright in that work as soon as the work is reduced to a "tangible medium of expression". No later.

The New York choreographer on Manhattan's West Side improvises a new set of dance steps for her students - fleeting, in the air - but owns no copyright in these movements or their performance or rendition. However, the moment she writes down the original dance steps using a detailed graphic chart, or videotapes herself performing them in her New York studio - perhaps at her entertainment lawyer's suggestion - she may then have a chance to claim some copyright-protected work. The key, again, is the work's reduction to a fixed medium. In fact, she may own the copyright in that material without ever interacting with Washington, D.C. - even though her entertainment attorney will tell her that it sure would be a good idea to thereafter mail a filing to D.C. if the original work of authorship is perceived to have any economic or other long-term value.

And this makes sense. Look at it from the perspective of copyright enforcement - from the perspective of the New York entertainment attorney litigator trying to prove or disprove copyright infringement in a court of law downtown at 500 Pearl Street. How difficult would the job be of a federal judge or jury in a U.S. copyright infringement litigation in the Southern or Eastern Districts of New York, or that of a U.S. Copyright Office Examiner in Washington, D.C., if the U.S. Congress allowed all of us to claim copyright in the inchoate and evanescent? The courts in New York and indeed nationwide would be inundated with strike suits and other spurious copyright claims, perhaps more often brought by pro se litigants rather than their entertainment lawyers if any. Therefore, Congress doesn't let us get away with it. Congress requires reduction to a "tangible medium of expression" as a pre-condition for copyright protection. But no, Congress does not require copyright registration as a pre-condition to copyright ownership itself - rather, copyright registration at or around the time of creation is discretionary with the copyright owner. Congress only requires copyright registration as a pre-condition to filing a lawsuit for copyright infringement - something that your entertainment lawyer litigator won't miss when reviewing the statute pre-filing of the federal court lawsuit.

Yes, your entertainment attorney will tell you that after-occurring copyright registration of a work does provide certain strategic advantages, relative to unregistered works. Copyright registration notifies those of us in New York, and in California, the U.S., and the rest of the world, at least constructively, that the copyright claimant thinks he or she owns the copyright in that registered work. Practically speaking, copyright registration creates a likelihood that another company including its own entertainment attorney performing a copyright search, will "pick up" (i.e., see, or notice) the previously-registered work, when that company or its entertainment lawyer counsel later conduct a thorough professional (or for that matter even a cursory and informal) ocular copyright search of the public records of the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Copyright Office. Most film studios and their entertainment attorneys perform thorough copyright searches as a matter of course, for example, before optioning an author's literary work.

As discussed above, whether you live in New York, Los Angeles, or elsewhere, copyright registration with the U.S. Copyright Office in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. is also a necessary precursor to your entertainment attorney litigator bringing a copyright infringement litigation in a U.S. federal court. For this reason, in practice, individuals and companies and their entertainment lawyers have been occasionally known to register their copyrights days - or even hours, paying an emergency rush filing fee using a New York-to-D.C. Fed Ex - before they sue for copyright infringement in federal court. Of course, the entertainment lawyer will tell you that it is better to register the work at an earlier stage than that. Filing a copyright infringement litigation predicated upon a USCO copyright registration in turn allows for the entertainment attorney litigator to recover certain types of damages afforded by the U.S. Copyright Act, such as "statutory" damages, and plaintiffs' attorneys fees. These types of damages would not be availing to the copyright plaintiff if his or her entertainment lawyer sued using a different common law theory. A copyright registration may also work advantages in terms of certain international copyright protections.

Click the "Articles" button at: to return to the main Articles page.


This article is not intended to, and does not constitute, legal advice with respect to your particular situation and fact pattern. Do secure counsel promptly, if you see any legal issue looming on the horizon which may affect your career or your rights. What applies in one context, may not apply to the next one. Make sure that you seek individualized legal advice as to any important matter pertaining to your career or your rights generally.

Copyright Registration Is Not A Pre-Condition To Protection
(C) John J. Tormey III, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.

My practice as a New York entertainment attorney includes copyright registration work in music, film, television, publishing, Internet, media, and all artistic fields. If you have questions about legal issues which affect your career, and require representation, please contact me:

Law Office of John J. Tormey III, Esq.
John J. Tormey III, PLLC
217 East 86th Street, PMB 221
New York, NY 10028
(212) 410-4142 (phone)
(212) 410-2380 (fax)

Public Domain - Very Important Data About Worldwide Copyrights

by Heinz Regniet -

The public domain is a range of abstract materials-commonly referred to as intellectual property-which are not owned or controlled by anyone.The term indicates that these materials are therefore "public property", and available for anyone to use for any purpose.

The laws of various countries define the scope of the public domain differently, making it necessary to specify which jurisdiction's public domain is being discussed.Furthermore, the public domain can be defined in contrast to several forms of intellectual property; the public domain in contrast to copyrighted works is different from the public domain in contrast to trademarks or patented works.

The public domain is most often discussed in contrast to works restricted by copyright.Under modern law, most original works of art, literature, music, etc are covered by copyright from the time of their creation for a limited period of time (which varies by country).When the copyright expires, the work enters the public domain.
About 15 percent of all books are in the public domain, including 10 percent of all books that are still in print.

The public domain can also be defined in contrast to trademarks. Names, logos, and other identifying marks used in commerce can be restricted as proprietary trademarks for a single business to use.Trademarks can be maintained indefinitely, but they can also lapse through disuse, negligence, or widespread misuse, and enter the public domain.

It is possible, however, for a lapsed trademark to become proprietary again, leaving the public domain.

The public domain also contrasts with patents.

New inventions can be registered and granted patents restricting others from using them without permission from the inventor.

Like copyrights, patents last for a limited period of time, after which the inventions covered by them enter the public domain and can be used by anyone.

Intellectual property law, Primary rights, Copyright, Patents, Trademarks, Industrial design rights, Utility models, Geographical indication, Trade secrets, Related rights, Trade names, Domain names, Sui generis rights, Database rights, Mask work, Plant breeder´s rights, Supplementary protection certificate, Indigenous intellectual property.

A creative work is said to be in the public domain if there are no laws which restrict its use by the public at large. For instance, a work may be in the public domain if no laws establish proprietary rights over the work, or if the work or its subject matter are specifically excluded from existing laws. Because proprietary rights are founded in national laws, an item may be public domain in one jurisdiction but not another. For instance, some works of literature are public domain in the United States but not in the European Union and vice versa.

The underlying idea that is expressed or manifested in the creation of a work generally cannot be the subject of copyright law (see idea-expression divide). Mathematical formula will therefore generally form part of the public domain, to the extent that their expression in the form of software is not covered by copyright; however, algorithms can be the subject of a software patent in some jurisdictions.

Works created before the existence of copyright and patent laws also form part of the public domain. The Bible and the inventions of Archimedes are in the public domain. However, copyright may exist in translations or new formulations of these works. Although "intellectual property" laws are not designed to prevent facts from entering the public domain, collections of facts organized or presented in a creative way, such as categorized lists, may be copyrighted.

Collections of data with intuitive organization, such as alphabetized directories like telephone directories, are generally not copyrightable.

In some countries copyright-like rights are granted for databases, even those containing mere facts. A sui generis database rights regime is in place in the European Union.
Works of the United States Government and various other governments are excluded from copyright law and may therefore be considered to be in the public domain in their respective countries. They may also be in the public domain in other countries as well.

All copyrights and patents have always had a finite term, though the terms for copyrights and patents differ.When terms expire, the work or invention is released into public domain.
In most countries, the term for patents is 20 years.

A trademark registration may be renewed and remain in force indefinitely provided the trademark is used, but could otherwise become generic.

Copyrights are more complex than patents; generally, in current law, the copyright in a published work expires in all countries (except Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Samoa, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) when any of the following conditions are satisfied :The work was created and first published before January 1, 1923, or at least 95 years before January 1 of the current year, whichever is later;The last surviving author died at least 70 years before January 1 of the current year;No Berne Convention signatory has passed a perpetual copyright on the work; and neither the United States nor the European Union has passed a copyright term extension since these conditions were last updated. This must be a condition because the exact numbers in the other conditions depend on the state of the law at any given moment.

These conditions are based on the intersection of United States and European Union copyright law, which most other Berne Convention signatories recognize. Note that copyright term extension under US tradition usually does not restore copyright to public domain works (hence the 1923 date), but European tradition does because the EU harmonization was based on the copyright term in Germany, which had already been extended to life plus 70. United States law all or part of this article may be confusing or unclear.

In the United States, copyright law has changed several times since the founding of the country.
Rural that Congress does not have the power to re-copyright works that have fallen into the public domain.

"After World War I and after World War II, there were special amendments to the Copyright Act to permit for a limited time and under certain conditions the recapture of works that might have fallen into the public domain, principally by aliens of countries with which we had been at war.
Works created by an agency of the United States government are public domain at the moment of creation.

Examples include military journalism, federal court opinions (but not necessarily state court opinions), congressional committee reports, and census data. However, works commissioned by the government but created by a contractor are still subject to copyright, and even in the case of public domain documents, availability of such documents may be limited by laws limiting the spread of classified information.

Before 1978, unpublished works were not covered by the federal copyright act This does not mean that the works were in the public domain. Rather, it means that they were covered under (perpetual) common law copyright The Copyright Act of 1976, effective 1978, abolished common law copyright in the United States; all works, published and unpublished, are now covered by federal statutory copyright.

The claim that "pre-1923 works are in the public domain" is correct only for published works; unpublished works are under federal copyright for at least the life of the author plus 70 years.
For a work made for hire, the copyright in a work created before 1978, but not theretofore in the public domain or registered for copyright, subsists from January 1, 1978, and endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication, or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. If the work was created before 1978 but first published on or before December 31, 2002, the work is covered by federal copyright until 2047.

Works published with notice of copyright or registered in unpublished form prior to January 1, 1964, had to be renewed during the 28th year of their first term of copyright to maintain copyright for a full 95-year term.

Until the Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988, the lack of a proper copyright notice would place an otherwise copyrightable work into the public domain, although for works published between January 1, 1978 and February 28, 1989, this could be prevented by registering the work with the Library of Congress within 5 years of publication. After March 1, 1989, an author's copyright in a work begins when it is fixed in a tangible form; neither publication nor registration is required, and a lack of a copyright notice does not place the work into the public domain.

Sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, were generally covered by common law or in some cases by statutes enacted in certain states, but were not covered by federal copyright law.
The 1976 Copyright Act, effective 1978, provides federal copyright for unpublished and published sound recordings fixed on or after February 15, 1972. Recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, are still covered, to varying degrees, by common law or state statutes. Any rights or remedies under state law for sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, are not annulled or limited by the 1976 Copyright Act until February 15, 2067.

Critics of copyright term extensions have said that Congress has achieved a perpetual copyright term "on the installment plan.

British government works are restricted by either Crown Copyright or Parliamentary Copyright.
Published Crown Copyright works become public domain at the end of the year 50 years after they were published, unless the author of the work held copyright and assigned it to the Crown.
In that case, the copyright term is the usual life of author plus 70 years Unpublished Crown Copyright documents become public domain at the end of the year 125 years after they were first created.

However, under the legislation that created this rule, and abolished the traditional common law perpetual copyright of unpublished works, no unpublished works will become public domain until 50 years after the legislation came into effect.

Since the legislation became law on 1 August 1989, no unpublished works will become public domain under this provision until 2039.

Parliamentary Copyright documents become public domain at the end of the year 50 years after they were published.

Crown Copyright is waived on some government works provided that certain conditions are met.
These numbers reflect the most recent extensions of copyright in the United States and Europe.

Canada and New Zealand have not, as of 2006, passed similar twenty-year extensions
Consequently, their copyright expiry times are still life of the author plus 50 years.

Australia passed a 20-year copyright extension in 2004, but delayed its effect until 2005, and did not make it revive already-expired copyrights.
Hence, in Australia works by authors who died before 1955 are still in the public domain.

As a result, works ranging from Peter Pan to the stories of H. Lovecraft are public domain in both countries.(The copyright status of Lovecraft's work is debatable, as no copyright renewals, which were necessary under the laws of that time, have been found.

Also, two competing parties have independently claimed copyright ownership on his work.
As with most other Commonwealth of Nations countries, Canada and Australia follow the general lead of the United Kingdom on copyright of government works.Both have a version of Crown Copyright which lasts for 50 years from publication.

New Zealand also has Crown Copyright, but has a much greater time length, at 100 years from the date of publication.

India has a government copyright of sixty years from publication, to coincide with its somewhat unusual life of the author plus sixty years term of copyright. According to Thai copyright law, the copyright term is the life of author plus 50 years.When the author is a legal entity or an anonymous person, the copyright term is 50 years from the date of publication.

Works of applied art (defined as drawings, paintings, sculpture, prints, architecture, photography, drafts, and models) have a copyright term of 25 years from publication.

Republication of works after the expiration of the copyright term does not reset the copyright term.
Thai state documents are public domain,but creative works produced by or commissioned by government offices are protected by copyright.

Japanese copyright law does not mention public domain. Hence, even when some materials are said to be "in the public domain" there can be some use restrictions. In that case, the term copyright-free is sometimes used instead. Many pre-1953 both Japanese and non-Japanese films are considered to be in the public domain in Japan.

Examples of inventions whose patents have expired include the inventions of Thomas Edison.
Examples of works whose copyrights have expired include the works of Carlo Collodi, Mozart, and most of the works of Mark Twain, excluding the work first published in 2001, A Murder, a Mystery, and a Marriage.

In the United States, the images of Frank Capra's classic film, It's a Wonderful Life (1946) entered into the public domain in 1974, because someone inadvertently failed to file a copyright renewal application with the Copyright Office during the 28th year after the film's release or publication.

Although copyright law generally does not provide any statutory means to "abandon" copyright so that a work can enter the public domain, this does not mean that it is impossible or even difficult, only that the law is somewhat unclear.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Copyright Bill Would Cost Songwriters $35 Million a Year

If the Harper government's proposed copyright legislation, Bill C-32, were to pass, it would reduce by $34.9 million the revenues songwriters and music publishers earn from licensing the right to reproduce songs. The lost revenue would represent 45% of the annual royalties collected by CMRRA-SODRAC Inc. (CSI), which collects royalties for the reproduction of songs.

The changes proposed by the government would allow broadcasters to copy music for use in programming their increasingly automated stations and networks without permission from, or payment to, songwriters or music copyright owners.

In testimony today, CSI President David Basskin, told the Legislative Committee examining Bill C-32: "They'll tell you the copies broadcasters make are worthless. That's nonsense. Expert evidence, accepted by the Copyright Board of Canada, extensively documents the benefits commercial radio broadcasters receive. For instance, through 'voice tracking', broadcasters can produce a four-hour program in 20 or 30 minutes."

Last week, commercial radio broadcasters told the Committee that current music royalty rates are unreasonable and unsustainable. CSI provided evidence to the Committee today that such stations pay all copyright owners, including CSI, just 5.7% of their revenue, despite the fact that music makes up 80% of their programming. They also provided evidence that, in 2009, despite a severe recession, their pre-tax profit margin was 21.2%.

CSI told the Legislative Committee that other provisions in Bill C-32 would also undermine the rights of its members. Failure to modernize the existing private copying provisions would result in the rapid disappearance of private copying revenues. The Bill also authorizes the making of uncompensated "technological reproductions", multiple backup copies, and the distribution of user-generated content through profitable commercial intermediaries like YouTube.

"Modernizing the Copyright Act should aim to create a stable, innovation-friendly environment without eliminating existing or potential royalty sources for creators," said CSI's Vice-President, Alain Lauzon. "The current law is technologically neutral and this principle should not be called into question. What constitutes copying or reproduction today should remain so as technologies continue to evolve."

CSI is a joint venture of the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Limited (CMRRA) and the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada (SODRAC). CMRRA and SODRAC represent the reproduction rights of the authors and publishers of more than 90% of the musical works sold or broadcast in Canada.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Copyright - The Concept of Fixed Creations

by Richard Chapo -

Copyright law is loved by creators of material that can be copyrighted and disliked by most everyone else. Before the web rolled around, the scope of copyright law was fairly well established. Once the world started going digital, all heck broke loose. If you want to understand copyright, you need to grasp what can be copyrighted. This brings us to the concept of fixed creations.

Although I stink at them, I enjoy a good video game or two. To say they have evolved beyond the first games of Pong and Missile Command is a slight understatement. What might surprise you, however, is to learn that copyright law has evolved massively as well when it comes to video games. How so? The first games were not allowed to be copyrighted! We'll get back to that in a moment because it fleshes out the concept of fixed creations.

So, what is a fixed creation of the mind? It is an original work that is a result of the creativity of the author. It cannot be something that is simply observed or already exists. Let's consider some examples.

Stephen King is a rather prolific writer. Imagine his writing process. He sits and thinks up some truly wild things in his mind. This is then reduced to writing and published. The resulting book is clearly a product of his imagination and is fixed in the form of text. It is a classic copyrightable item.

Now let's return to our video game issue. The first video games were not allowed to be copyrighted because courts ruled the moving images were manifested by the players, and thus weren't creative. This obviously tells us how little judges understood in regard to video games. Eventually, an enterprising lawyer was able to get a judge to understand that the game was made up of a creative idea of a designer that was reduced to code and could be replicated. Given this, the game was a fixed creation of the mind and could be copyrighted. If this change hadn't been made, you would associate Halo with angels instead of Xbox.

Copyright is a fairly simple concept to understand in theory. Applying it to real world situations can be a bit more complex. Making sure you understand the concept of fixed creations will take you a long way to getting it right.

Richard A. Chapo is with - providing copyright transfer agreement preparation services.

Public Domain and Copyright Protection

by Sarah Kolb -

It's illegal to use someone else's copyrighted work without their permission, but a copyright registration doesn't last forever. In fact, a copyright lasts only a certain number of years past the author's death; when the registration ceases to be valid, the work enters the public domain and is freely available for use by anyone who chooses to use it. So how do you determine whether a work's copyright registration has run out -- our whether that work was ever registered in the first place? These questions seem straightforward, but the answers are more complex than you might think.

Unfortunately, if you'd like to use a particular work but you're not sure where to start, it's your own responsibility to determine whether it's protected by a copyright or in the public domain. A work might be in the public domain for any number of reasons; in order to figure out if you're free to use a work, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.

Is it an original work, or an idea?

Not everything is able to be copyrighted. Only "original works" that have been "fixed in a tangible medium" are able to be copyrighted -- the underlying idea is not. In addition, blank forms and other documents that contain no original work cannot be protected: ledgers, weight charts, address books, score cards, and other similar works are ineligible for copyright protection. Standard calendars are also ineligible -- however, while the calendar aspect cannot be protected, any artwork or photography that accompanies the calendar could be protected as a work of visual art.

Here are a few examples of things that cannot be copyrighted and, therefore, can be freely used:

* Someone writes a fictional children's book about dinosaurs, and they copyright the text. You want to write your own book about dinosaurs. Understand that it's the text alone that is protected from infringement, not the idea of fictional dinosaur friends going on journeys and doing other activities similar to the first dinosaur book. (Here's a great example of this point -- a frequent request my company's copyright division receives is to submit a few-page synopsis of a novel for copyright protection. We're careful to explain that while we could certainly send in those few pages of text for protection, our customers must understand that it's the actual text of the synopsis that would be protected, and not the book idea itself -- likely not what they had in mind!)

* Here's another example, this one from a court case by the name of Dunlap v. G&L Holding Group, Inc. (heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on August 27th, 2004). In this case, a gentleman came up with an idea for a bank that caters to gay and lesbian clientele. G&L Bank was formed and Dunlap became an employee. However, shortly after G&L's inception, Dunlap was fired and subsequently sued for theft of his idea. However, the suit was dismissed -- an "idea" cannot be protected, so someone who "steals" that idea has not broken any copyright laws.

Has the work been registered with the US Copyright Office?

With more recent works, the best place to start is the USCO's Copyright Records Search. Simply search the online database for the work you're looking for.

Of course, it isn't that simple. If the work isn't found there, that doesn't mean you've eliminated the possibility that the work is registered. It just means you have to dig a little harder. You may need to enlist the USCO's help in locating the registration. This process has its costs ($115 for even an estimate of the cost!) -- but guess what's even costlier? Being sued for copyright infringement.

In what year was the work registered for copyright protection?

In some cases, you might know that the work was copyrighted at one point but be unsure whether that registration is still valid and effective. There are many factors involved (the year of registration, whether or not the copyright symbol needed to be affixed to works registered in that particular year, and so on), but there are a few general rules:

*If the work was published before 1923, the copyright has expired. It is now in the public domain and free to use.

*If a work was published between 1923 and 1963 and the copyright registration was not renewed, the work is free to use.

* The registration of a work created after January 1, 1978, will remain effective until 70 years after the author's death (or the death of the last author, if there were more than one authors). If the work was anonymous, registration remains effective for 120 years from the registration date.

* If the work was published before 1978, and the copyright symbol and notice were not included in the work, it's in the public domain (and always has been).

* If the work was published between 1978 and March 1, 1989, it's a little trickier -- if the copyright notice was not included in the work at the time of publication, the author had five years to do so. If they did not, the work is in the public domain.

Sarah Kolb,

Since 2000, Click Industries, Ltd. has been helping thousands of small business owners, independent entrepreneurs, writers, and musicians start new business ventures, protect their intellectual property, and find new ways to market and promote their businesses and creative works. The management team of Click Industries brings a wealth of experience from the fields of government, law, IT development, and book publishing.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Copyright: The Basics by Sarah Kolb

When you create a new work, you own the copyright to that work. It happens automatically; you don't have to do anything other than create an original work. Of course, this abstract idea looks great on paper, but the obvious problem is that who created a work is essentially one person's claim against another.

Why should I copyright my work?

The fact that you've created a work doesn't necessarily mean that you're able to prove you've created the work -- and if you're not able to prove in a court of law that you created something, you're not going to be able to sue someone for using it without your permission.

This is where registering a copyright comes in. It's the only way to legally prove your authorship. You may have heard of the "poor man's copyright" -- the act of mailing a copy of the work to yourself, keeping the package unopened and the postmark intact -- but as there is no language to support this, it simply is not a legal defense. Better to copyright your work, allowing no room for argument.

What types of works are eligible for copyright protection?

Any work of original authorship (meaning that it is not an exact copy of another work) that has been fixed in a tangible medium (either physically or digitally; in other words, it is a thing and not just an idea) can be copyrighted. Examples include:

Sound Recordings
Audio/Visual Recordings
Computer programs

Not all types of works can be protected by a copyright. Examples of works not eligible for this type of protection include:

Blank forms (graph paper, scorecards, address books, etc.)
Public knowledge (height and weight charts, tape measures, anything taken from common sources)
Short Phrases
Logos (unless there is enough original authorship to warrant protection as two-dimensional artwork; simply setting a name or title in a specific font or giving the letters some sort of artistic treatment does not contain enough original authorship to qualify)

However, you may be able to protect types of intellectual property not eligible for copyright protection in another way, such as with a trademark or a patent. It's best to discuss this with your legal advisor, if you're uncertain which type of protection is best for your work.

Can I Protect My Unpublished Work With A Copyright?

Absolutely. Publication was once a requirement, but the current Copyright Act no longer requires that a work be published to receive protection.

Incidentally, recent versions of the Copyright Act have removed one other previous requirement: that the copyright notice and symbol be present on the work. While a good idea to deter would-be copyright infringers, the copyright notice is no longer required to be placed on the work, even if that work is published. Ignorance of a work's copyright protection is not a legal excuse to violate that protection.

Sarah Kolb,

Since 2000, Click Industries, Ltd. has helped thousands of small business owners, independent entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, and writers start new businesses, protect their intellectual property and find new ways to market and promote their business and creative works. Our copyrighting division, Click and Copyright, offers copyright filing services for creative professionals.

Licensing and Transference of Copyright

By Malika Bajpai

A Copyright acquired by an individual or a party may be transferred to another party. To accomplish this some conditions must be carried out among the parties. This is a common practice in the music industry. The creator of a music or song forms an agreement with the music company in which the company acquires all the rights to copy, distribute and publicize the items in the market. The original creator is provided with royalties in return. Due to the advent of the internet much of the copying and distribution is done through the internet but the company also pays heed to the marketing factor. The company looks after the marketing the creator (singer or musician) among the masses.

It depends on the copyright holder whether he/she wants to transfer all the vested rights to other. The owner of the right may transfer few of the rights to some party. When the transfer is done the original owner have to sign in legal documents. For exclusive license this is particularly useful where both the parties agree on the conditions and give their sign. The rights that are handed over to the party are mentioned exclusively leaving behind other rights. Legal documents involving such transfers of right should be with the concerned Copyright office. In US this is the rule.

Licensing of the Copyright is also performed in some countries. The benefit that adheres to the license considerably helps individual to acquire the copyrighted work without the consent of the owner. For this the concerned, issues a notice to the authority and pays some amount of money as fixed by the authority. If someone violates the law related to licensing it may lead to infringement. Various bodies have been formed to look that the policies and procedures are carried out properly. Thus doing this ensures that the creators are returned with adequate fees fixed for them.

To learn more about bankruptcy related issues please log on to the given website Law and Legal Care is a law portal having eminent team of attorneys across US, and offers quality service to its clients.

Monday, February 21, 2011

WikiLeaks and US Government, Serial Violators of Copyright

by Vel Nirtist -

Since WikiLeaks and the American government are locked in a bitter and acrimonious struggle, a claim that the two share a common underlying mentality may appear bizarre.

And yet, such is indeed the case: what unites US government and the WikiLeaks is their attitude to copyright -- or, more precisely, their respective answer to the question "do the tools of exercising the copyright belong with the copyright itself, or can they be used separately?"

WikiLeaks clearly thinks that the latter is the case -- and uses a tool of copyright, the internet, even though it has no copyright to the material itself. In WikiLeaks mind, the copyright and the exercise of its tools do not belong together; one party can have the copyright to the material, yet a different party can wield the tools to publish this material.

Which is precisely the position of the US government.

Consider this scenario. You wrote a book, and therefore have the copyright to it -- the right to publish. Unwilling to go to a publisher because he will pocket two thirds of the profit, or because you have no connections, you decide to exercise your copyright and to publish your book yourself. How do you make the book trade -- the libraries and bookstores -- aware of your newly forthcoming book? For that, you need the government's help -- you need to add it to the Library of Congress' catalog that provides subject keywords by which your book can be found by the interested parties. This is the key tool of exercising your copyright, since it makes your book visible in the marketplace.

Yet, if you publish your book yourself, the government denies you the use of this catalog, this essential tool of the copyright -- even though you actually own the copyright itself. Only the bigger third-party publishers -- the middlemen -- are permitted its use, not the actual owners of copyright -- the authors. Clearly, the government believes that the copyright and its tools do not belong together -- and thus, it fully shares the WikiLeaks position and philosophy.

Taking the tools of the copyright away from the owners of the copyright locks the latter out of the mainstream marketplace of ideas, to the detriment of us all. If all could speak, rather than merely those with the connections, perhaps many problems that surfaced in government cables leaked by the WikiLeaks would have been solved through the free and public debate. But the government doesn't want an open debate, and denies the key to the marketplace of ideas -- the tools of copyright -- to wider public. WikiLeaks, equally cavalier about the copyright, and sharing with the government the premise that tools of copyright do not belong with the copyright itself, now gave the government a taste of its own medicine -- and published what the government -- the copyright owner -- does not want published.

So, evisceration of copyright turned out to be a double-edged sword. The very same principle of separating tools of the copyright from the copyright itself produced two very different outcomes: in one case, the authors who want their work present in the mainstream marketplace of ideas cannot place their books into it; yet in the other, the authors who would rather escape the limelight, now find themselves engulfed in it.

Solution? Let the copyright be copyright, so the tools of publishing (or of exercise of the copyright, which is the same) belong together. Hopefully, the court case to which I am a party -- Overview Books v. US -- will restore the normal meaning of the copyright as the author's right to publish without a middleman -- and his or her ability to utilize all requisite tools, including the government-maintained catalog.

While the government should be able to keep its secrets, the public should also be able to do what it needs to do to function properly -- to freely discuss whatever the members of the public want to discuss. Both needs will be served by restoring to the copyright its normal function -- that of allowing authors the right to present their works to the mainstream marketplace of ideas -- or to withhold it from the public scrutiny if they wish to do so.

Vel Nirtist writes on the role of religion in fostering terrorism. He is author of “The Pitfall of Truth: Holy War, its Rationale and Folly.” His blog is at

From Music To Books: Piracy Threatens Professional Publishers

While piracy in the music industry is well documented and widespread, little attention has been given to its latest victim, professional books. The latest article in Simba Information's bi-monthly newsletter Professional Content Report, "Professional Book Piracy Thriving in Cyberspace," finds challenges in combating piracy and quantifying the potential revenue loss.

Currently moving onto an online platform, professional book publications, which generate $13.91 billion in revenue annually, are confronting mounting losses from digital piracy, the article finds. Several websites that publish textbooks and eBooks for free are profiting through subscriptions and advertising while maintaining immunity from copyright infringement, making these profiteers very difficult opponents.

"If piracy is next to impossible to fight, the question is how publishers should react to this situation," notes Dan Strempel, senior editor of Professional Content Report. "Do they treat piracy as part of the cost of doing business in the Internet age, or do they try and recoup piracy losses from paying customers by raising prices? It would be extremely challenging for publishers to do the latter, considering the economic pressures in the scholarly/professional system."

Quantifying the loss associated with this piracy remains a challenge. Findings suggest as much as $1.7 million in potential revenue is lost per title in the technical segment and about $1 million per title in the science segment. According to the article, progress is being made through trade associations and cooperation between publishers; however, there remains a greater need of public awareness, government resources and collective effort to effectively combat book piracy.

"Until someone puts the 'force' in international copyright enforcement, they might just have to learn to deal with it," notes Strempel.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Selling A Website - Watch Out For Copyright Problems

By Richard Chapo

You've built a website and turned it into a successful business. Now you want to sell it. Before you start coming up with a price, it is vital that you think through the process and make sure you have your ducks in order well before a buyer comes along.

Selling a business is always much more of a task than the party selling imagines. There are a host of issues that have to be addressed, issues that can be tough to get through. Although an internet site has no physical presence unless you want to count the servers, there are a host of issues that arise when trying to sell it as well. Let's look at an example to see how copyright can be an issue.

You have a site selling blood pressure monitors to consumers. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, so it is a ripe market. The site does really well and one of the big health industry sites notices as much. Discussions on a sale begin and you are suddenly looking at making a serious amount of money. A final price is agreed upon and then due diligence is undertaken by the buyer. Suddenly, you are in trouble.

The initial question the buyer will have is do you own the copyright to the site design. Well, do you? If you designed the site yourself, then you do. Most people don't do this. Instead, they hire a designer to do the work. Since the designer is usually an independent contractor, he or she will actually own the copyright to the design under established law.

The only way you could have circumvented this was to have them sign a copyright transfer contract or include appropriate language in the initial design agreement to this effect. If you didn't, you are going to need to approach them and hope they will assign it without too much financial pain on your part.

There are other problems that can arise with copyright for sites that are sufficient to sink any site sale. For instance, what if you had them sign a contract, but can't find it? What if they gave you a license to use the design, but it can't be transferred? What if part of the design was used from another site they already had rights to? The questions can be endless and the buyer is going to want an answer to all of them.

The time to deal with copyright problems is not during the due diligence process. The time to deal with them is well before you think of selling. In fact, every site should go through a website audit once a year to make sure issues related to copyright, trademark, regulatory compliance and the like are all being taken care of and are up to date.

Richard A. Chapo provides website audit services and provides legal services to clients in California at

Plagiarism - Your Rights Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

By Russell J Barnstein

Plagiarism is an unbridled problem on the internet and the only specific protections for content owners are under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Passed by the Clinton administration in 1998, this copyright law seeks to protect writers, web developers and content owners from illegal infringement and plagiarism by extending the reach of copyright law, thereby offering recourses in order to prevent, stop, and report plagiarism.

Plagiarism is all too easy on the web, but the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it all too easy to have plagiarized work taken down. Under the DMCA, internet service providers are protected from liability for acts of plagiarism by their users. However, websites are exempt from this protection, and if you request to have plagiarized work taken down, website owners and administrators must immediately comply in order to avoid liability under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Plagiarism and its Definitions: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Plagiarism and copyright infringement was more clearly defined by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to include cases where individuals circumvent measures put in place to prevent unauthorized access to materials or to prevent plagiarism. Criminals that do this are subject to being tried, fined and incarcerated under the DMCA.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act also seeks to prevent plagiarism by preventing others from linking to plagiarized work. While this legislation is currently in place, there have been no court cases involving a person being tried for linking to plagiarized work, unless that person was previously admonished for or found guilty of plagiarism.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act relies on the self-education of users to take action in specific steps, the easiest of which is to simply notify the webmaster of an offending site and request a take-down of plagiarized work. This almost always achieves results, but if it does not, plagiarism can be pursued by contacting the Better Business Bureau, the State's Attorney General Office, by reporting plagiarism to the major search engines, and by seeking litigation.

Unless you take steps to prevent, detect and report plagiarism, thieves will have no incentive to discontinue stealing your valuable content. And if you think plagiarism isn't happening to you, think again by visiting this link to learn more about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and report plagiarism now.

Need to know more about how to prevent, detect and report plagiarism.

Tired of chasing those who plagiarize your work? Improve your leverage and help us put pressure on the search engines by joining our free site to report plagiarism.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Copyright - The Importance of It by Sharon Slater

Why the importance?

In the World today, we have those who give and those who take and not forgetting the variables in between. We have Extreme thieves who steal, we also have the petty criminals who rob and again the variables in between. We have original brand labels, and very convincing copyright labels and again those variables in between. The list goes on and on and...

Unfortunately as most of us know the same goes on with written information online. However the sheer volume and spectrum of that activity is mind blowing and quite often overlooked. Never underestimate the volume of content theft.

This is what happens.

Take your new website for example. The website creation and what you write may be formatted and presented and created in your own original way. It is personal to you and comes from the heart and in your opinion it belongs to you as it is your creative work whether that comes naturally or you have to work at it, it is still your work. You may create links of course to various locations online (referrals) you may even quote articles, and occasionally copy and paste an article or part of to illustrate something but you will and should always include the original source, author.

You should of course never make that work look your own.

Using an extreme case I know, but your work is as important to you as say JK Rowling's work is to her.

Bills little light shop business is as important to him as Lord Allan Sugars Business is as important to him, and Alice who has worked hard for everything she owns and sits in her flat is as important to her to say Lady Champ who has worked hard for her car collection and estate she owns.

Moving on....

I will now give you an example of what could happen to you and will use Alice and yourself to see similarities.

Someone steals a little bit of your work. They have may not take everything and may not be in the same Industry and not in direct competition with you in any way, shape or form nor are they claiming to be you or using your name under their work, but the fact is they have still stolen something from you.

In comparison...

Alice gets broken into and comes home and finds her microwave missing. She looks around the flat and sees that nothing else is missing. She is annoyed and feels violated. She worked hard for that microwave but realizes she is lucky because nothing else was taken. She is annoyed with herself because she knew she should have shut her kitchen window properly but she did not imagine someone would break into her flat. She later found out it was some petty thief. She is annoyed but she gets things into perspective and makes sure she never leaves the window open again and she also goes and buys an intruder alarm and a few more locks. She places what she considers her valuable items and hides them away.(she understands this may not prevent it from happening again but she has made it harder for them) She then continues with her life. Lesson learnt move on and don't dwell on the past just put it down to experience.

Going back to your stolen site content. Most of us fully understand that as soon as you submit something to the Internet it becomes available for millions to use and abuse for whatever reason, but most of us also know that there are ways and methods of protecting it and claiming it as your content but many have the attitude of do that tomorrow, combined with is it needed yet. Of course tomorrow does not come and it is only when this happens do you do something about it such as copyright and Extra security etc. (shutting the stable door spring to mind?) of course that does not mean to say it will not happen again but at least you have taken some action.

The fact is there are a lot of people without a creative bone in their body but we must appreciate this is the real world and many don't.

Intentional theft is worse than non intentional theft. probably wrong in quoting this but I think its called (malice aforethought?), we must be aware that many do not understand they are actually stealing your content.

Anyway like I said, this is a topic of conversation is highly debatable. I read somewhere someone who is very successful in what she does say this. If someone steals your work online do not get too personal, remain professional. If it has a direct impact on your work then pursue it, it is not as hard as what people think. However if it has no impact on your work then move on and take it as a compliment.

I would agree with that. I also read that whatever work you do online it is not a matter of if you experience this but it is a matter of when you experience this.

Take measures now to try and prevent this from happening to you.

Get your online worked copyright protected. Now!

Of course this above illustration is just one of millions and millions of situations!

You can only imagine what really goes on! In fact I really don't want to think about it.

Sharon Slater

Printed Material Is Protected From Photocopying by Copyright But There Are Exemptions

By Ali Withers

Copyright law is complex and since the most recent UK legislation in 1988 has been regularly amended basically any material in print and on the internet is protected from being copied or reproduced and the writer has Intellectual Property Rights to protect them.

This protection also applies to music scores and visual images and the point is to protect the originator of the work, who earns their living from what they produce.

This might cause problems for both students and teachers in schools, colleges and universities, where budgets are limited and providing reference books for each student would be very expensive.

Many educators rely on photocopied materials as part of the materials they need to give students for lessons and in further education students, too, rely on references for written coursework. No college library is likely to have more than a few copies of any reference book, which can be a problem if there are many students needing to refer to them.

There is a system of licensing for educational establishments to allow photocopies to be made covering both printed material and scans and copies of online material. The examples that follow are extracts only and users should check the complete licence for what is permitted and what is not.

The licensing system is run by the Copyright Licensing Agency and is called the CLA Schools Licence, which allows photocopying from printed books, journals, and magazines as well as making digital copies from online material or photocopying and scanning printouts of digital material.

Among the issues covered by the Licence are defined limits to the amount of material that can be copied and printed out which are:

1. One complete chapter from a book
2. One article from a journal or magazine
3. One short story or poem not more than 10 pages in length
4. The entire report of a single legal case
5. Or 5% of the publication if greater than above

The licence does not include printed music, including the words, newspapers, workbooks and some correspondence courses as well as any publications that include a notice that they are prohibited from being copied under a CLA licence.

There are limits also on how many copies can be made and for whom. They should only be enough for the teacher and the numbers of pupils in the class if being used for teaching. They should only be available to students, teachers, parents and governors.

Most university libraries have a notice of the rules and regulations regarding photocopyingand copyright alongside their photocopiers to help users to know what they can and cannot do.

Regarding quoting from other people's material, the 1988 Copyright Act contains a clause, called Fair Dealing, that states that copyright is not infringed if material being quoted or used is for research or private study, criticism or review or for reporting current events.

Copyright (c) 2011 Alison Withers

This article looks at the issues of copyright law and copying materials for educational purposes. Ali Withers writes on behalf of Firstcopy, Cambridge, suppliers of printers and copiers throughout East Anglia.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Online Copyright Rule Crackdown For Online Writers - Expect It by Lance Winslow

Online Article Writers should be paying attention to the new Internet Copyright Rules we are all expecting in the future to head-off any potential future issues in that regard. You see, it seems that the "fair use" copyright rules, have been stretched over the years online especially with 'news aggregators' and online videos, and yes, those who engage in re-writing news articles too. So, I for one expect more scrutiny in this, and expect online article directory sites to heed the warnings and writing on the wall.

Congress has been taking notes, so too has the FTC, their news media lobbyists have been fighting for changes and a crackdown on internet content pilferage. Whereas, most online article writers are honest and do not engage in plagiarism, or content theft, we all know there are those who have, and perhaps as an online article writer you've even had some of your content stolen, and it irks you to no end. It is completely frustrating indeed, you know you cannot track these people down.

This is what the news outlets are going through, and many of them are barely hanging on financially, this is a huge crisis, and not just in the US, many of the content thieves come from other nations, who do not have such rules or if they do, they certainly aren't ever enforced, and yet, the Internet is World Wide now.

How much stress will this put on online article directory sites?

Well, not much on the good ones with strong editorial guidelines, for those in my estimation, for the most part safe in this issue, due to their focus, expert authors, and editorial posting rules. Still, this future challenge should be in the back of their minds because this will be a real future issue. Also, I'd say in the end such new copyright rules could become a plus for us authors who occasionally find their material and articles ripped off and posted on other websites, some of which use scraper strategies to lift content from other websites.

If you are a high-profile online article writer, these changes will affect you. If you've been copying content, you are liable to be banned from the sites you post on, and some of the less-than-quality sites may just disappear overnight if they have too much plagiarized content, don't be surprised when and if these things happen.

Best advice is to only post content on quality article directory sites. Please consider all this.

Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank. Lance Winslow believes it's hard to write 20,000 articles;

Note: All of Lance Winslow's articles are written by him, not by Automated Software, any Computer Program, or Artificially Intelligent Software. None of his articles are outsourced, PLR Content or written by ghost writers.

How Can I Transfer A Copyright? by Greg L Stevens

For those who are unsure about if it is a possibility to change the name on a U.S. copyright, the answer's yes, and copyright laws are put together so that it really is rather hassle-free to achieve. Indeed, a lot of people convert their own copyrights to get used by a few other persons and businesses. This will give you to be paid royalty payments or chief percentage for any of the chance to use your output.

How can you exchange your national copyright?

According to U.S. copyright laws, to pass on the control of a copyright, you have got to describe the switch on paper. An effective way of doing this is with the assistance of a national copyright law firm. Your lawyer can discuss with you what's important about the characteristics of the transaction, and help to set up the paperwork. The written file needs to have a signature of the transfer or, whomever originally held the copyright. There's no general official document for this operation, but it needs to involve:

- An in-depth explanation of the copyright-protected asset that is getting shifted;
- The names of the people or agencies that are included in the contract; and
- The stipulations and legal rights that are set up about the shift of the copyright.

The copyright owner ought to then present the papers to the US Copyright Office. Even though this entry is not called for legally, it should retain a file of the dealing, and works to shield the legal rights of the groups associated. In the event you need assistance completing this task, you should find the experienced assistance of a national copyright lawyer.

How about licensing a copyright?

The relocation of a copyright doesn't necessarily indicate the long-term exchange of privileges. In reality, the length of time of the deal, along with other particulars, depend upon the characteristics of your agreement. You could transfer the rights for any time frame, and under any set occasions.

A proven way of giving limited rights to a copyright is by way of a licensing arrangement. This will determine the conditions, the time-span, and the frequency of payment for a copyright. The only authentic conditions are those which were decided amongst the licensor and licensee. These can involve the rights to factors such as image reproduction, circulation and spin off features. Licensing deals assist you to sustain charge and possession of your copyright, while licensee can apply your property inside the stipulations of the arrangement.

If you need assistance with your copyright transfer, consult an experienced California copyright lawyer. A knowledge LA copyright attorney is familiar with the laws related to intellectual property and can assist you with all the necessary paperwork, advise you on your contract, and see that both parties are satisfied with the results.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What Can I Do About Copyright Infringement?

By Greg L Stevens

If you register a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, you're protecting your legal rights to the utilization of the copyrighted content. It indicates that any use of your copyrighted content has to have your authorization or it's regarded as a breach of copyright laws. Intellectual property law is usually challenging, and the aid of a copyright lawyer is highly recommended.

What, precisely, is viewed as copyright infringement? Whenever you obtain the copyright for any content, you're issued the legal permission: create more copies using the work; put together derivative works relating to the original concept or content; release copies of the work to the public whether by selling, rental, lease or lending; perform your creative efforts in a theater or festival; exhibit the protected content in a public place; and transmit the material to the public by using a radio station, TV, movies or the net.

Whenever another person carries out any of these practices using your copyrighted work while not having your express permission, they are taking part in a breach of copyright law. United States Copyright Law states that "anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner is an infringer of the copyright or right of the author." Even while there are some exceptions to infringement accountability, copyright law protects you from the vast majority of instances of copyright infringement. When you're struggling with questions pertaining to your rights and security through the laws, you should review your case with your patent/trademark/copyright attorney.

How does someone deal with a potential copyright infringement claim? If you ever are convinced your legal rights were infringed upon, make sure you obtain the recommendations of a copyright attorney at once. The United States Copyright Office is not counted upon to impose regulations, neither does it warn copyright keepers of potential copyright violation. You must discover the examples of this on your own and afterward pursue the case in federal court.

There are particular policies around the time schedule in which your copyright was granted. In some instances, if a copyright registration has not yet been submitted, you might still have the option to do this and then carry out the legal process. According to when exactly an intellectual property owner files their copyright submission, they could be eligible for statutory damages and attorney expenses.

For assistance with your potential infringement claim, consult a knowledgeable Arlington infringement lawyer. An experienced Virginia copyright attorney can investigate the claim, advise you accordingly, and fight for your rights in court.