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Lesson 2Copyright issues in Internet culture
Objective Identify when material is eligible for copyright protection

Copyright Issues and Standards on the Web

What is a Copyright?

Key Points to understand with respect to "copyright law"

When publishing content on the web, understanding copyright law is crucial to avoid legal issues. Here are the key points you must grasp:
  1. Everything you create is automatically copyrighted: This includes text, images, videos, music, and any other original work you create. Copyright protects your work from being copied, distributed, or used without your permission.
  2. You don't need to register your copyright: Copyright protection arises automatically upon creation. However, registering your copyright strengthens your legal position in case of infringement.
  3. Fair use allows limited use without permission: Fair use is a legal doctrine allowing copyrighted material to be used for purposes like criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, and research. However, it's a complex concept with unclear boundaries, so exercise caution and consult legal advice if unsure.
  4. Be careful with third-party content: Using someone else's copyrighted content without permission is infringement. This includes text, images, music, and even code. Always obtain permission before using any material that isn't yours.
  5. Public domain content is freely usable: Works in the public domain have no copyright restrictions and can be freely used. However, verify the public domain status before relying on it.
  6. Creative Commons licenses offer alternative permissions: Many creators use Creative Commons licenses to grant specific rights to use their work, like attribution or non-commercial use. Always understand the terms of any license before using licensed material.
  7. Be aware of platform terms of service: Platforms like YouTube or Facebook may have specific terms regarding copyright infringement. Violating these terms could result in account suspension or removal of your content.
  8. Copyright infringement consequences can be severe: Penalties for infringement can include financial damages, legal fees, and even criminal charges in some cases.
  9. Seek legal advice when unsure: If you have complex copyright questions or are unsure about the legality of using specific content, consult with an intellectual property lawyer.

Additional tips:
  • Use a copyright notice on your website to inform others of your copyright claims.
  • Use watermarks or other measures to protect your original images and videos.
  • Give credit to the original creator when using third-party content, even if it's allowed.
  • Stay updated on copyright law changes, as it can evolve over time.

By understanding these key points, you can navigate the complexities of copyright law when publishing content online and protect yourself from legal trouble.

Federal Copyright Law

Copyright Notice

Copyrighted material, such as a Web page, is typically branded with a standard copyright notice. This commonly known string of elements alerts readers to a protected work. You are no longer required to attach such a notice to your work, but it is wise to do so. Copyrighting the material on your site can help prove your ownership if you find your content is being used on someone else's Web site, and helps discourage infringement of your material. If you would like to protect your email communication, a copyright notice on your email messages can be useful. For example, "Please do not forward this message without permission" should be legally adequate and will be honored by most recipients.
In the next lesson, how to determine if using someone else's work is permitted will be discussed.

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