Understanding Copyright: 5 Myths Debunked!

There’s a lot of misunderstanding around Copyright law, especially when it’s online. You could be breaching Copyright and not even know it. This infograph by Legal123.com.au clearly explains Copyright Infringement, allowing you to determine whether it’s lawful to use or repost someone else’s work on your website.

Click to enlarge.

copyright   Understanding Copyright: 5 Myths Debunked!

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

18 Comments -

Joel L

One thing that I have never been 100% sure about: screenshots. If someone takes a screenshot of a program, a website, or whatever else, do they own the copyright on that screenshot? If not, then what if they add arrows or circles onto the screenshot? And still, if not, then how do screenshots differ from photographs?

Flávio de Lima

Hi, Joel.

Screenshots can also be seen as derivative works. Actually you can also infringe copyright through photographs. For example: if you shoot a street and a Ferrari happens to be there it is ok, but if you make the Ferrari the subject of your photography, you are actually doing a work that is a derivative from Ferrari’s copyrighted design work. But again, as the article said it can all fall into the famous ‘fair use ‘ category in case it is used to write a review and under some other circumstances.
Provided the use doesn’t harm the owner’s interest or is very abusive, they tend not to care much about the infringement and if they do, they will usually ask you to remove the content and give you some time before taking any further action.

Paul in NJ

Not surprisingly, copyright law is often a big, gray area. Although the author omitted a salient point: One can waive one’s copyright by dedicating his work to the public domain. Not that that happens a lot.

I do wonder about meme generators, though. Assuming they offer their own (copyrighted) image, does that mean that every derivative effort produced by their meme-generator website falls under their copyright? One can look in vain for any kind of notice on such sites.

Paul M

I would think that since memes are intended to be widely disseminated, copyright isn’t an issue to the creator(s). They may even be thought of as in the public domain at the moment of publication.
DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney, your mileage may vary.

Nick Boorer

The trouble with this kind of article/infographic is that they are too frequently too specific to the jurisdiction in which they are generated. One of the enormous challenges for people referencing or using other people’s work on line is the competing copyright claims and principles of a wide range of countries and legal systems. The particular principles and laws applying to you may well involve a complex examination of the copyright law and conflict of laws principles in place in the place where you upload the material, the place where the servers are located, the place where the website is located/registered, and the places where it is downloaded by your audience.

Given the extreme complexity of these judgments, and the fact that using other people’s content in your own content is rarely piracy, it is incumbent on all in the creative/media industries to:

a) strongly resist the impulse to preciously adhere to the strict letter of the law when encountering reproductions of their work online; and

b) strive to find non-pecuniary solutions to all cases where they encounter a genuine and substantiated case of non-piratical infringement that nonetheless has a realistic chance of harming their commercial or creative interests. Such solutions should always aim to keep the contested content online as far as that is humanly possible.

michel

“Such solutions should always aim to keep the contested content online as far as that is humanly possible.”

Why? Why can’t people just create their own content?

Grant

? That’s right. Let’s make the issues even more convoluted until no one on earth can understand or interpret them. I think for the readers, the info-graphic is a great way of saying: “Just ask before you use something, and get that permission documented (email, in-writing).”

Jackson

The infograph should really only be viewed as a rough guide. If you believe you may be infringing Copyright, seek professional opinion.

jkendal

What about American copyright law? That infograph from Legal123 is from Australia…

Bill G

My non-lawyer understanding is everything mentioned applies to American law as well. While not all countries have identical rules, most follow the Berne Convention or the Buenos Aires convention and the above facts are really so basic that they are true almost everywhere. The rules can differ in time periods, how loosely the are interpreted etc.

Grant

These are all REALLY obvious rules. I was hoping for something a bit more substantial or generally unknown. Maybe dive into how to legally use music in a video, or discuss whether or not shapes can be copyrighted. Curious study for sure.

Pirate

SMH… This can really be really ridiculous, just like you can’t record an NFL game and play it for a group without the NFL’s permission.

If you are not profiting from it or claiming it as your own, then all I got to say is “C’mon Maaan!”

Glenn Murray

Yes! And, importantly, if you’re creating content for clients, you retain ownership of the copyright unless otherwise agreed in writing. At least here in Australia. I suspect similar elsewhere…

Bill

TPP will be finalized very soon.I have heard there would be $10,000 fines for merely viewing copywritten videos on YouTube,for example.For more info,go to Stopthetrap.net

Gary Dauphin

#1 isn’t complete: “and they never lose this protection.” Copyrights can expire.

Clinton Gallagher @virtualCableTV

Myth #1 is untrue.
Myth # 4 is untrue.

Anybody can and should go directly to http://www.copyright.gov/ and read the actual rules about what Myth #4 in this amateur infographic falsely claims –BUT– there is something else even more important to learn about copyright and that is the rules required to actually defend a copyright.

I have personal experience to have discovered the real facts the hard way: that is the myth that there is no requirement to register a copyright which is a specious and fallacious reality which does indeed change the whole ballgame for those who ignorantly fail to register their copyright.

Read about my experience in this blogged article:
http://blog.virtualcable.tv/index.php/tag/copyright/

There is a lot of crap being published about copyright as this inforgaphic for example is basically misinformation.

I have also learned most lawyers do not even know what the hell they are talking about.

Again, read what I learned after my architectural drawings were stolen as I explain in the link to my blog above and ALWAYS do your due diligence to trust but verify EVERYTHING that is claimed when reading about copyright because if you trust misinformation such as this inforgraphic and even what I claim in my blog it can and will cost you big time if and when you actually need to defend your copyright.

Stephen

I always wonder if it’s genuinely not understanding the law or just wilfully claiming that the law happens to let you do what you wanted to do.

For example, [I can use it because] “It stops being copyrighted if it’s on the internet” just seems that little bit too convenient to just be a misunderstanding.

G Thompson

Strangely since this is actually an Australian website the Myth #3 is actually fundamentally wrong since their is no such thing as “fair use” under Australian Copyright law.

My advice – like anything on the internet that is made “easy to read” DO NOT take this infographic as anything other than a guide that could or could not be correct and like most things consult professional advice for your jurisdiction.