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Copyright infringement case
Learning Copyright Law through Copyright Infringement Cases
Copyright infringement cases can be both costly and time consuming. Considering copyright infringement is something that isn?t as easily defined as theft or speeding, there are numerous copyright infringement cases that are changing the way copyright law is viewed in the United States of America. By reviewing a few of these copyright infringement cases, you?ll be able to get a better idea of what is, and is not, acceptable use of copyrighted works.
As a forward, however, you?ll need to know a little bit about copyright law. Most copyright lawsuits are brought to the courts because a copyright owner has found their copyright is being used outside the copyright laws. This usually means that the copyright holder hadn?t been asked for permission to use the work, or if they had, that the work is not being used in an agreed-upon context or they have not been paid royalties. The copyright infringement cases, listed below, give a sampling of what goes to the Supreme Court in copyright infringement.
Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service Co (6th Cir. 1996)
This copyright infringement case was brought upon the Supreme Court in 1996 regarding the copyright of a database. The supreme court, in this instance, decided that compilations of data (such as in a database) are only protected by copyright when they are ?arranged and selected in an original manner.? Although the level of originality needed to make the database copyright-able is not very high, the pages of a directory such as a phone book are not protect-able because the data contained therein is arranged geographically, then alphabetically. Because of this, the data was not original enough to warrant a copyright infringement charge, and the competing telephone company was allowed to tap into their competitors? database and use that data in their own work without liability.
Princeton University Press v. Michigan Document Services, Inc (6th Cir 1996)
This case has to do with the ?fair use? law, which is defined in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107. In this case, a photocopying service was sued for copyright infringement for making ?course packs? for the University of Michigan. In this case, a course pack was a group of reading materials assigned by a professor ? then the course pack was bound together by a professional copy shop.
In the fair use system, there is a system available for payment of copyright fees to publishers whose works are used in course materials, the printing shop owner refused to pay the copyright cost. When it went to the Supreme Court, they analyzed the fair use code and found that it was NOT fair use, and the printing shop had to pay the copyright costs.
As you can see, copyright infringement cases are cases in which someone violates the rights of a copyright owner, as provided by 17 USC §106, or of the author as provided in §106A. These copyright infringement cases can be taken to either criminal or civil court, and can carry with it a hefty fine.
Copyright infringement cases are brought upon people who violate copyrights every day. In recent times, you?ll find many copyright cases in relation to electronic copyrights ? such as those you?d find on a website or PDF file, as well as other digital media such as music and audio files.
It?s probable that you?ve seen copyright cases brought against the common person ? such as a child or family ? for downloading digital music in the form of MP3s. In the current internet age we?re in, it?s not surprising to see so many music and video copyright cases brought to us because of peer to peer file sharing made possible by the internet. You can be certain that until people know the rules of copyright, and downloading copyrighted material from the internet that we?ll see many more copyright cases.
Copyright Law Act The Copyright Law Act of 1976 The Copyright Law Act of 1976 is the basis of the United States copyright laws. The Copyright Law Act states the rights of copyright owners, the doctrine of the fair use copyright laws and it changed the term life of copyrights. Before the Copyright Law Act the law had not been revised since 1909. It was necessary that the copyright laws be revised to take into account technological strides that were being made in radio, sound recordings, motions pictures and more. The Copyright Law Act of 1976 preempted all previous laws that were on the books in the United States, including the Copyright Act of 1909. The Copyright Law Act of 1976 defines ?works of authorship? to include all of the following: * Musical works * Literary works * Dramatic works * Pictorial, sculptural and graphics * Motion Pictures and Audiovisuals * Sound Recordings * Choreographic Works and Pantomimes * An eighth work which falls under ?architectural works? was later added in 1990. What is unique about the United States copyright law is that it is automatic. Once someone has an idea and produces it in tangible form, the creator is the copyright holder and has the authority to enforce his exclusivity to it. In other words, the person is the owner of the creation. It is not necessary that a person register their work. However, it is recommended and it can serve as evidence if someone ever violates a copyright. It is interesting to note that when an employer hires an employee to produce a work that the copyright is given to the employer. Violations of US Copyright Law are generally enforced in a civil court setting. However, there could also be criminal sanctions brought against someone who violates US copyright law. Someone that is in serious violation of US Copyright Law such as counterfeiting can find themselves on the inside of prison looking out. People need to understand that the copyright symbol is not a requirement. Someone may have a copyright, yet their work may not have a copyright notice or symbol. US Copyright Law covers a wide range of things that are derived from artistic expression, intellectual or creative work. This includes things such as literary works, music, drawings, photographs, software, movies, choreographic works such as ballets and plays, poems, paintings and more. The law covers the form of expression, not the concept, facts or the actual idea of the work. This means that someone can use another person?s idea or concept and produce their own take on it. However, copying another person?s work is a violation. It should be noted that some things may not be copyrighted but they may be protected by a patent or trademark. Individuals who have a copyright on a particular piece of work can do with it what they will. They may choose to copy it and sell it. They may display their work or perform it in public and charge admission, or they can assign or sell the work to someone else. Individuals who have a copyright can also choose to do nothing with their work, if that is their desire. However, if someone comes along and takes the work and tries to use it in some way, that person is still in violation of the owner?s copyright. The Copyright Law Act covers published and unpublished work.
Copyright Law Plagiarism Plagiarism Is Simply Unethical Anyone who is a writer is concerned with plagiarism. Copyright Plagiarism Laws protects copyright holders from having their works plagiarized. Many people think it is ironic that the word plagiarism derives from ?kidnapper? in Latin. However, it is true. If a person uses another person?s words without permission, they have indeed stolen or kidnapped something that was owned by another and is in violation of copyright law. Plagiarism is a very bad word in the writing world. Crediting the author of the work will not keep someone immune from being in violation of copyright law. Plagiarism is plagiarism, even if the author is cited if the author did not give permission for the work to be used. One of the most common areas that copyright law plagiarism is violated is in the academic world. Many students will copy and paste the information they need for their research papers and essays straight off the Internet and turn it in to their professors. However, this type of cheating is easily detected now with special programs that professors can use. Plagiarism is unethical, not only in the writing world, but in the academic world, as well. Did you know that you could plagiarism a work but not be in violation of the copyright? Likewise, you can be in violation of a copyright and not have been plagiarizing. It is really not that hard to understand. Let?s say you are using Abraham Lincoln?s exact words in a paper and you did not cite him as the source or give him credit. Well, Lincoln?s words aren?t copyrighted because they are in the public domain. But, you did plagiarize because you tried to pass off his words as your own. Alternatively, if you use a picture in a book and you did not gain permission to use the book, you have violated copyright law because you did not source the artist and you did not get permission from the artist to use the picture. If you are in school, the best way you can get around committing plagiarism is to simply list your sources. If you use someone?s word, list it in an endnote or in a footnote. List the resource you found it in the bibliography. Another way around copyright law plagiarism violations is to take notes when you are reading. Take notes in your own words and put the resource away. Write your paper from your own words. No one wants to be singled out for plagiarism, especially a student who is concerned about their reputation at school and writers who need to keep their credibility in good standing. With today?s technological advances, it is not too hard to pinpoint plagiarized work. Even webmasters who run websites are on to the plagiarism crowd. They can run their entire sites through a special program to see if their content has been stolen and duplicated elsewhere on the Internet. If you are dealing in the written word, either academically or as a profession, it is a good idea that you only use your own words. It was probably easier to get away with plagiarism 100 years ago, but it is not that easy today. The changes are very high that if you are caught violating copyright law plagiarism laws you will be caught. Not only is it embarrassing, but it can cost you a bundle in a lawsuit.
Four Ways to Create a Better Work Environment and Increase Job Productivity What kind of environment do you think creates the most potential for job productivity ? one in which everything is very regimented and the workers perform their work because they are afraid of ?getting in trouble,? or one in which the workers are relaxed and allowed a great deal of freedom and flexibility? It is the great working conundrum ? to get workers to do more, you have to let them work less. Further, you have to create a work environment in which work is not stressful. In fact, creating an environment in which work is even enjoyable and a pleasure gets the best results of all! If you want to get your employees to improve their job productivity and job performance, forget about cracking the whip. Instead, think about how you can make coming to work appealing for them, so they actually want to get things done for you! The first way to create a better work environment and increase job productivity comes down very much to your attitude and the way you treat your employees. Make sure you create an environment in which your workers can come to you and discuss work related problems they are having with you. The feedback you get from them will enable to make sure the office is working as efficiently as possible. Additionally, it will allow you to stay on top of everything that is happening in the office much easier ? instead of employees trying to hide mistakes and problems from you, they will bring them to your attention and work on finding a solution. Above all else, creating a good relationship with your employees will keep the mood in the office positive ? no one likes working for someone who doesn?t appreciate them or casts a black cloud over the office. You?ll get more out of your employees if they are happy when they are at work. The next thing you can do is consider ?fun? options, like a dress down day once a week or a weekly office lunch get together. These kinds of shared activities increase the team building and the morale among the workers in your office. When everyone feels like he or she is a member of a team, they will be more likely to feel responsible to each other and perform better at their daily tasks. The third idea for creating a better office environment is related to the second, but has more to do with the actual office itself. Open plan offices are believed by experts to increase feelings of belonging and team membership among employees. Try to encourage shared workspaces and a healthy exchange of ideas between your employees at all times. Again, when employees feel like they are part of a team working together for a common goal, they will be more likely to make sure they are holding up their end of the bargain. Last but not least, make sure your employees are well rested and as stress free as possible. Allowing flex time hours in your office is a great way to give employees more control over their time; it gives them time to get rest when they need it or take a day off when they need to recharge. Encourage your employees to disconnect from the office when they are not at work instead of being constantly available, even after hours or when they are on vacation. An employee who actually gets some time off will be more productive when they return to the office. Likewise, make sure that the office has a break room that offers a real respite for employees during the day, and encourage employees to make use of it. Allowing your employees to get they breaks they will increase their ability to deliver for you when they return.