Copyright Infringement

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Atomic.gif Warning!
Copyright infringement is bad, m'kay?

Stolen without permission from wikipedia:

Copyright infringement is the unauthorized use of copyrighted material in a manner that violates one of the copyright owner's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works that build upon it.

Stolen without permission from Nolo:

Any unauthorized use of a copyrighted work other than fair use. Uses can range from outright plagiarism to using a portion of a photograph in a CD-ROM. The copyright owner may file a lawsuit to stop the infringement and collect damages from the infringer, provided the owner has registered her copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Also, applies to images of furry anime -- since its big business to sell them on the internets, as indicated by SexyFur.

If you infringe on someone's copyright OL, you just might get a visit from an Internet lawyer!

Fair Use

Some people claim that they aren't infringing a copyrighted picture or song because they added something new to the picture, or they claim Fair Use. Fair use is a balancing test between four factors. They aren't all weighed equally, and don't necessarily mean what you think they do.

the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes

Using a song or picture on YouTube or Wikipedia doesn't mean it's noncommercial. Wikipedia makes money off of donations and YouTube makes money off of advertising. Just because you aren't making any money doesn't mean it's noncommercial.

the nature of the copyrighted work

Most copyrighted works are made so that someone can make money off of it. There are some exceptions, but generally someone is trying to sell what you're posting for free. Even if that somebody is the RIAA it's still illegal.

amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole

"But it's just background music for my video of my cat eating a harbl!" So what. You're still using the whole damn song, and anyone can listen to the music for free. Plus, it's the whole song.

Actually, use of any portion of a song can constitute as copyright infringement. This was established by the decision in Bridgeport Music v. Dimension Films. NWA was sued by Funkadelic for sampling a very small portion of "Get Off Your Ass And Jam" into the song "100 Miles And Runnin", even though NWA edited the sample, put it in the background, and only looped it five times. The Sixth Circuit Court established that de minimus was not a valid argument in sampling cases (so it doesn't matter how little the sample is), and set the precedent on sampling by stating, "Get a license or do not sample."

the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

Believe it or not, some people aren't going to buy a song they just want to hear once if they can get it for free on the internet.

For teh lulz

There's an important exception called "parody," most commonly known as teh lulz. Anything you do for teh lulz is fair use. This guy told me so. Srsly.

Everything on the internet is stolen. It's a fact. Just try not to get caught. If you do, say it was for teh lulz.

Creative Commons

If you're really worried about copyright infringement, or if you're a hippie and think that all music should be free, check out Creative Commons, because it's totally cool.

Copyright Infringement is part of a series on Language & Communication
Languages and DialectsGrammar, Punctuation, Spelling, Style, and UsageRhetorical StrategiesPoetryThe Politics of Language and CommunicationMediaVisual Rhetoric
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