Information About Using Copyrighted Material Legally and Illegally

Copyrighted work can be used only if the holder approves. However, under FAIR USE DOCTRINE certain limited purposes like comment and criticism, teaching, research, scholarship, and news reporting copyrighted material can be used without copyright holder’s permission.

What is copyright law?

State and federal law award exclusive rights in the form of patent, copyright, and trademark. Copyright Office administers copyright statutes and USPTO manages the trademark and patent law. Federally registered copyright owner is given right to make use of his/her literary creation for lifelong and 70 years beyond.

Copyrighted work cannot be borrowed or copied or distributed by third party without consent. These exclusive rights are provided by Government to encourage copyright owners to develop their creative art and intellectual thinking even more.

How to obtain copyright owners consent?

If you wish to use the copyrighted protected content then you will need to –

  • Agree to licensing terms
  • Buy it for exclusive use. It means the copyright owner will not be able to use it for the agreed duration.
  • Buy for limited use

Before, you use the copyrighted text make sure to obtain a written consent.

What are Moral rights?

Copyright owner has specific rights on how you use their creativity, even if you bought it. Play writers, authors, artists, film directors, and composers hold moral right to –

  • Be acknowledged as the originator, when copies of their work are made public.
  • Object, if the work is changed and can impact their reputation negatively.
  • Not have other creators work fallaciously credited to them.

Dancers, actors, and other performers have moral right to –

  • Get recognition as performer of that specific piece
  • Object to their presentation being distorted in a damaging way.

It is up to the performer or originator to select whether to use their moral right or not. You cannot transfer or sell moral rights like copyright.

What is copyright infringement?

Breach of copyrighted material without consent means you are guilty of intellectual property infringement. You will not be excused, even, if you claim that you were not aware that it was copyrighted material. You will need to pay the legal copyright owner civil damages, if you get caught.

If you used copyrighted material illegally and profited from it then the court will ban you from using the material without consent and order you to pay the copyright owner monetary damages.  Federal judge may even confiscate your material and have it destroyed, instantly. Your profits will be given to the copyright holder as compensation.

Permissible use without consent – Fair Use Doctrine rules

If you are using copyright material for the given reasons then there is no need for getting copyright owners approval.

  • Criticism, review, and current news
  • Non-commercial research
  • Teaching in schools or academic facilities
  • Helping disabled
  • Recording to be used in future

If you wish to use a small part of the copyright protected material then there is no need to get permission. However, it is wise to inform the copyright owner of your purpose, even if it is permissible, for your best interest.

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