Internet Copyrights



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Copyright laws and internet use are intertwined when it comes to creating an internet copyright.  To create an online copyright, it can be as simple as including the word “copyright” or “©” and the date and author of the copyrighted material (i.e. © November, 2009, John Doe).  The reality is that even absent a © notation, all work of an individual belongs to that individual, and is therefore implicitly copyrighted.  However, it becomes difficult to prove that the material belonged to a specific person first if there is no documentation or evidence of an official copyright.

Laws for Internet Copyrights

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), also known the Copyright Act, was enacted in 1998.  The Act includes a provision to limit the liability for online internet service providers for claims of copyright infringement.  The Act combines copyright law and the internet by acknowledging that while internet service providers may, inadvertently facilitate the transmission of copyrighted material; they cannot me held to have violated internet copyright law.The Copyright Act takes steps to criminalize activity intended to circumvent anti-piracy safety devices that are built into commercial software that is sold to the public.  The Act makes internet copyright infringement illegal and makes it illegal to provide programs designed to “crack” the security of software and makes copying software without a license illegal as well.  The crux of these protections is aimed at protecting the intellectual property of software producers who fall prey to pirating (i.e. illegal copying).

Registering Internet Copyrights

While a copyright exists the moment the author creates the work, it is helpful to have the © notation present as well.  It is also necessary to register the copyright under online copyright law in the event that an individual ever needs to take legal action for internet copyright infringement to enforce their copyright; thus, it is always a good idea to formally register copyrights even though it is not necessarily required.  In order to successfully copyright material, the work must be unique and must be creative.  Things like facts and abstract ideas cannot be copyrighted – only artistic or authored creative works can be copyrighted, provided their content is completely unique and not a version of some work done prior.

Legal Issues with Copyrights

Common legal issues that occur with copyright laws and internet use is the question over what constitutes “fair use” and “fair dealing”.  The crux of these ideas is that there is no need to seek permission from the copyright owner for use or copying of material that deals with “important” social principles.  The principle is centered on fairness and disclosure to the public – for example, a drug company would never giver permission to show the pill bottle or pills if a report were going to include negative side effects of the drug, but would gladly give permission if the report contained only positive information.  This problem creates a danger to the public because they may suffer from insufficient information on important topics if internet copyright infringement liability is assessed to all copyrighted material without exception.

Getting Legal Help from Internet Copyright Attorneys

The protections afforded by internet copyright law that ward off internet copyright infringement are complicated and apply differently to every situation.  If you would like to ensure that your work is protected or in you believe that your work has been wrongfully copied, you should seek the counsel of an attorney specializing in intellectual property law related to copyright laws and internet use.  Additionally, if you have been accused of infringing on copyrighted material, a skilled attorney may be able to make a persuasive argument for fair use on your behalf.  In any event, getting legal help is the best way to navigate the waters of online copyright law.

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