Copyright Basics


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A general overview of copyright basics for writers and artists.

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Copyright Basics

  1. 1. Nicola McDonald, Program Facilitator
  2. 2. In this workshop we will discuss copyright.  Copyright Basics  Copyright Process  Creative Commons  EBooks & Copyright
  3. 3.  Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.
  4. 4.  In general, copyright registration is voluntary.  Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. However, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work, a copyright will help to prove your case.  So, copyright registration is a form of protection for the producer of the work.
  5. 5.  (a) In General - Copyright in a work created on or after January 1, 1978,  endures for a term consisting of the life of the author  and 70 years after the author’s death.
  6. 6.  (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;  (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;  (3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;  (4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;  (5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and
  7. 7.  Poor Man’s Copyright  Registration with the US Copyright office
  8. 8.  Using a postage system (USPS, UPS, Fedex, etc) a writer can choose to mail a particular work to him/herself.  Leaving the envelope unopened, the postmark date can serve as proof that the document therein was protected by you as of that date. (This may not be an absolute method, therefore for the best copyright protection you may want to consider the US copyright office)
  9. 9.   Online registration is generally less costly than mail registration.
  10. 10.     Creative commons is a great resource for sharing your work, while still maintaining some sort of protection. You protect your work by using the symbols to determine how people can use the work that you share with them. This is great for previews of upcoming works, short works. etc.
  11. 11.  Because an eBook is electronic there are various issues surrounding copyright. Most surrounds the question:  What can ebook owners do with their product after it is purchased?
  12. 12.  Digital Rights management  Most self publishing sites including Amazon has the option to make one’s work DRM free.  This removes certain restrictions and gives more flexibility for how consumers can use materials that they purchase.
  13. 13.  Prevents consumer access  Denies user the ability to copy/share content and from converting the product to other formats.  This means restricting consumers regarding what hardware can be used with a particular device or what software can be run on it.  For instance, EPUB, PDF, Mobi are 3 of the most popular eBook formats. But a kindle may not necessarily accept EPUB files, etc.  An article that might be worth reading - publishers-worried-about-ebook-formats/
  14. 14.  Copyright is optional, but can come in handy for necessary lawsuits  Creative Commons can be a great tool to share your work, while maintaining certain copyrights  DRM restricts certain access for users
  15. 15. Websites:    Books:  The pocket legal companion to copyright : a user- friendly handbook for protecting and profiting from copyrights / by Lee Wilson.  Copyright and digital ethics / Emily Popek  The creative artist's legal guide : copyright, trademark, and contracts in film and digital media production / Bill Seiter & Ellen Seiter