Internet Copyright Law

Internet copyright law is of particular interest to software companies and their programmers. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was established in 1998 to protect the intellectual property of these individuals in an attempt to keep them from becoming victims of piracy.

The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act was bringing copyright protections right into the upcoming 21st century. This law turned two treaties within the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) into law in the U.S. The law is pretty complicated and includes five separate and quite lengthy titles.

The Copyright Act shifts the liability from internet service providers to individuals who actually download illegal content.  Internet providers like COMCAST and AT&T have the right to identify individual users who violate copyright infringements rather than face legal prosecution themselves.

The legislation uses the argument that even though these internet service providers might at times facilitate the downloading of copyright-protected material, the end-users rather than the businesses are the ones who have violated the internet copyright law.

The Copyright Act criminalizes piracy as well as any attempt to bypass anti-piracy software protections. Not only is it illegal, but the development and distribution of cracking programs is also a punishable offense. The legislation hopes to cover all the bases necessary to reduce and eventually eliminate software piracy.

Making an Internet Copyright

Copyrighting online content is as rudimentary as including a “©” or a full “copyright” accompanied with the date and name of the author. This combination is sufficient to denote ownership of a specific work to an individual. In fact, even without the “©” symbol, any work completed by an individual is the intellectual property of that individual until a contract exists to suggest differently.

The idea of this inherent copyrighting becomes complicated if questioned, as it then becomes necessary to prove ownership to a certain person. Without documentation or an official notarized copyright, such ownership is nearly impossible to establish just like it is with patents.

Copyright Registration

While a work is implicitly copyrighted to its author, the © notation is a wise addition for anyone looking to protect their intellectual property. The copyright must be registered according to online law for copyright, in order for legal support to be provided in the case of a future copyright infringement.

This formal registration is an essential step for the author’s protection. Valid copyrights can only be issued for unique creative work. Facts and figures are considered public domain and cannot be copyrighted. The work of an artist or author must be original and based upon creative ideas or content in order to qualify for copyrighting.

Internet Copyright Legality

Just because a document is copyrighted does not mean that others cannot reproduce it. If material pertains to important social principles, it can be used or copied without permission from the holder of the copyright under what is called “fair use” or “fair dealing.”  Just as copyrights protect the creative individual who generates the material, the idea of fair use is designed to protect the public from biased information.

Obviously, a drug company would give permission to use its patented drug name or label in a report that promotes prescription drug usage and puts their product in a positive light. However, this same permission would be denied if the report highlighted the side effects and risks associated with the medication.

It would be dangerous for consumers to only have access to one side of the story, so this is a case when fair use comes into play, and the authors of the medical report do not need to seek permission from the company. This protection from insufficient information extends to internet copyrights, and infringement liability cannot be applied equally to all material.

Attorneys Specialize in Internet Copyright Law

As with the bulk of legislation, internet copyright laws and infringement claims are interpreted differently in each situation. A specialized attorney can help determine if your work qualifies for a copyright, guide you through the process of protecting your creative material, and then represent your interests if you feel that your work has been pirated. E-commerce law is a different thing. To learn more about this subject field, check out this post. 

In the event that you are accused of internet copyright infringement, a trained attorney may argue that your usage falls under fair usage and is therefore legal. It is always in your best interest to seek legal aid when questions arise surrounding online copyright legislation and practice.