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Thread: Copyrights

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    Copyrights

    So, I'm looking at all these different people putting the copyright signs on their sites. Which leads me to question the validation of such things. From my understanding one must purchase a copyright from the government, not just put the copyright symbol on something and say "this is mine".
    Just putting the symbol there does not protect your work. Correct me if I am wrong.
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    Senior Coder Rowsdower!'s Avatar
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    For US copyright to apply to online works one must register with the copyright office and submit the work for archiving, as outlined here:

    http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ66.pdf

    So, if the website content hasn't been run through the copyright office then it seems as though it is technically not protected (under US authority).

    I'm not sure about other countries, but my guess is that the rules are similar. Overall I would bet that most websites marked are probably not actually copyrighted. There is a filing fee and some sweat overhead that most people are probably averse to committing to a project.

    If you want to check up on something before "borrowing" it you can try to find an item in the copyright office's records (http://www.copyright.gov/records/) but I would imagine that is a tedious and potentially fruitless endeavor. For example, this is the result list returned by simply searching for the keyword "google":

    http://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwe...&CNT=25&HIST=1

    We understand that Google currently has a 2010 copyright (according to their website), but it's not going to be easy to find it here. It turns out it's the 27th hit, which is not even on the first page of results.

    A name search finally pulls up the Google copyright in the first page of results, but only as the fifth result in the list (out of seven):

    http://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwe...&CNT=25&HIST=1

    So if google is that hard to find, I wonder how much more difficult other things with more common names would be to find. Not to mention trying to find a copyright for an image when a picture paints a thousand words - and none of those are necessarily used to title the image!
    Last edited by Rowsdower!; 11-09-2010 at 01:42 PM.
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    That's why the CC refers to their version as the copyleft. Far as I know though, there is no copyleft symbol, hence the copyright one has to be used.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyleft

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Hick View Post
    So, I'm looking at all these different people putting the copyright signs on their sites. Which leads me to question the validation of such things. From my understanding one must purchase a copyright from the government, not just put the copyright symbol on something and say "this is mine".
    Just putting the symbol there does not protect your work. Correct me if I am wrong.
    Actually, you are wrong, at least about copyright in the USA. Here's a link to "copyright basics" from copyright.gov, which states: "Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created
    in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work."

    You have copyright to a web site as soon as you create it (assuming its your work and not stolen). You don't *need* to put the (c) symbol on it to have that copyright, but it's considered smart to remind your viewers of it. You can also *register your copyright* with the government, which will provide you with better legal remedies if you end up in court over a copyright issue.

    Dave

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    http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/fa...al.html#mywork
    When is my work protected?
    Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

    Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
    No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration.”

    Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?
    Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration” and Circular 38b, Highlights of Copyright Amendments Contained in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), on non-U.S. works.
    To clarify: Registered works are protected by law. Unregistered works are protected by goodwill.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowsdower! View Post
    To clarify: Registered works are protected by law. Unregistered works are protected by goodwill.
    I'd like to see how that one would hold up in court though. They can't say it's copyrighted but non-enforceable on one hand, and then say it's copyrighted and enforceable on the other. Something is either copyrighted or it isn't. A piece of paper stating the blatantly obvious should be totally moot. I personally reckon that argument would be practically sneered upon in court, unless justice requires the payment of monies to a Govt. before it applies, in which case it is not justice.

    Plus, you also have the copyright/copyleft situation. If you use one of the Open Source licences, last I heard they will defend those applications tooth and nail, as they know that if they didn't they would become meaningless, so an O.S licence/copyright is quite possibly the best course.
    Last edited by MattF; 11-09-2010 at 08:03 PM.

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    I can't pretend to know how that would play out in court. All I can do is cite the governing body's position on the matter.

    It seems to me utterly worthless to claim that all items are copyrighted as soon as they are created. That devalues the entire purpose of the copyright if even things that the content's creator does not care about (such as this forum post) are copyrighted by simple merit of existing. And then it's only protected until challenged - well then what's the purpose of the "protection?" It makes no sense.

    If you can figure out the government please be sure to clue me in!

    2010, All rights reserved!!!!!!!!

    Don't copy me!
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    The typical statement* regarding results from a court case is that if you have not registered a copyright, damages are limited to the actual value of the content that was stolen. Ie, if I sell pictures for $20 each and one is stolen, I will get $20 if I can prove my case. On the other hand, if you have registered the copyright, you can get additional damages and legal fees - something far more valuable than just the intended selling price/value of the content.

    So the issue is not that a non-registered copyright isn't somehow "legal", or "worthless", it's the damages you can get in a lawsuit.

    * "typical statement" in this case is what I've heard on the internet from other photographers who discuss such things... I haven't been through a copyright legal battle myself.

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by tracknut View Post
    The typical statement* regarding results from a court case is that if you have not registered a copyright, damages are limited to the actual value of the content that was stolen. Ie, if I sell pictures for $20 each and one is stolen, I will get $20 if I can prove my case. On the other hand, if you have registered the copyright, you can get additional damages and legal fees - something far more valuable than just the intended selling price/value of the content.
    15 or so is not the value though, The "value", (or damages), would be whatever possible revenue you have lost due to the theft of that photograph.

    Personally, I don't see how any court could legally differentiate between either form of copyright, registered or no. Again, it's copyrighted or it isn't. How can there be totally different definitions of what that means just because there is some meaningless piece of paper obtained, (at cost), from a Govt. dept? I honestly think it would end up as a farcical sham if any solicitor even tried going down that supposed path of defence regarding a "registered" copyright.
    Last edited by MattF; 11-09-2010 at 09:04 PM.


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