Protect Yourself Legally by Avoiding Common Copyright Myths

There are a few common misconceptions about copyright laws. In order to protect yourself from legal repercussions, you should know and understand copyright laws and how they pertain to you. One myth regarding these laws is that a copyright notice must be visible in order for copyrighting to have taken place. This is simply not true.

There were laws in the past that claimed that for something to be considered copyrighted, it had to bear a copyright mark. This is no longer true. Today, you should simply assume than anything you see, particularly when you are browsing the internet, is copyrighted. You cannot take copy or content from someone’s website and use it as your own even if it does not bear the copyrighted ©.

Another myth that some people believe is that if they are not making money from the content that they are using then it does not violate any copyright laws. This is another one that is not true. You do not have to actually be making any money from someone else’s work in order for copyright laws to dictate that you have stolen that work. Courts may actually order stricter sentencing when money is concerned. For instance, if you are taken to court for copyright infringement and you have actually made money from the work that you have used, you may face heavier fines. Even if you do not make any money from that work however, you are still in violation of copyright laws and you can still be punished by law. Common copyright laws that do not earn money for the violator include duplicating music files or video files through common file sharing programs or copying those items onto a disc for personal use.

Finally, there is a myth that many believe that involves creating something from the works of others. Many believe that if they use works and then do something to make them unique, no copyright laws have been violated. An example of this would be fan fiction. Even though you may be adding to the idea and making something unique, if you used the original works of someone else without their permission, you are violating copyright laws. The brand that you use to create your unique works actually belongs to someone else and this is where the violation occurs.

Some copyright laws can be difficult to decipher, particularly those involving internet works. If you are unsure of whether or not you are violating these laws or you feel that you have fallen victim to copyright infringement, it is important that you speak with an attorney who specializes in intellectual property laws. An experienced attorney can help you to determine if in fact a violation has occurred and what you can do about it.

In order to prevent violating copyright laws yourself, you should always request permission of the original author of any works before you use those works for your own use. For instance, if you want to add an article to a website, ask the original author’s permission before doing so.

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