- 1 Academic Exception
- 2 “Actual Knowledge”
- 3 American Library Association (“ALA”) Code of Ethics
- 4 Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (“ACTA”) Proposal (2007)
- 5 Assignment
- 6 Author
- 7 Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
- 8 Bilateral Agreements
- 9 Blanket license
- 10 “Browsewrap”
- 11 “Cease-and-desist” letter
- 12 CISAC
- 13 “Clickwrap” or "Click-on"
- 14 Choice of Laws
- 15 Circumvention
- 16 Copyright
- 17 Common Law
- 18 Collective Rights Management Organization/Society
- 19 Compulsory License
- 20 Civil Law
- 21 Commons
- 22 Compilation
- 23 CONFU
- 24 Counterfeiting
- 25 Course Pack
- 26 Creative Commons
- 27 Collective work
- 28 Damages
- 29 Database
- 30 Datamining
- 31 Derivative work
- 32 DMCA
- 33 DRM
- 34 Due diligence
- 35 Economic Rights
- 36 EIFL
- 37 Exceptions and Limitations
- 38 “Fair Use”
- 39 “Fair Dealing”
- 40 First Sale doctrine
- 41 Fixation
- 42 Free trade agreement
- 43 GNU-GPL license
- 44 HADOPI
- 45 (legal) Formalities
- 46 Idea / Expression Dichotomy
- 47 IFLA
- 48 IFRRO
- 49 Incentives
- 50 Intellectual Effort
- 51 Infringement
- 52 Lex loci delicti
- 53 License
- 54 Material breach (of a contract)
- 55 Monopoly
- 56 Moral Rights
- 57 Mortenson Center
- 58 Neighboring Rights
- 59 Open Access
- 60 “Opt-in”
- 61 “Opt-out”
- 62 Original expression
- 63 Orphan works
- 64 "Notice and Takedown”
- 65 Perform
- 66 Piracy
- 67 Plagiarism
- 68 Public Domain
- 69 Public Performance or Display
- 70 Registration
- 71 Relief
- 72 Religious Legal System
- 73 Rights
- 74 Rome Convention
- 75 “Safe Harbors”
- 76 Statutory Exemption
- 77 Statute of Limitations
- 78 “Sweat of the brow”
- 79 Tangible Medium
- 80 “Three-Strikes” Laws
- 81 “Three-step Test”
- 82 TPM – Technological Protection Measures
- 83 Transferability (of rights)
- 84 TRIPS
- 85 UNESCO
- 86 United Kingdom’s Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)
- 87 Universal Copyright Convention (or UCC)
- 88 WIPO
- 89 WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT)
- 90 WTO – World Trade Organization
- 91 Work For Hire
Academic exception is the exception for teachers and academics to the general rule that employers hold copyright in the creative works produced by their employees in the course of their employment.
Unlike the a work-for-hire situtation, academics typically retain the copyrights in the scholarly work they produce, and may retain, sell or assign those copyrights, or dedicate them to the public domain, at their discretion.
- A scholarly paper on the academic exception [Canadian, access required]
- A brief discussion of the academic exception
- An article on Harvard’s open access policy
Having direct knowledge (as opposed to merely having reason to believe) that copyright infringement is occurring.
Some copyright laws require web hosts to remove content from their servers if they posses "actual knowledge" that the content infringes copyright. Under such laws the hosts may become liable if they do not remove the content.
For example, Section 512(c) of the U.S. Digital Millenium Copyright Act reads:
“(c) Information Residing on Systems or Networks At Direction of Users. (1) In general. A service provider shall not be liable for monetary relief, or, except as provided in subsection (j), for injunctive or other equitable relief, for infringement of copyright by reason of the storage at the direction of a user of material that resides on a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider, if the service provider (A) (i) does not have actual knowledge that the material or an activity using the material on the system or network is infringing;
- Legal information website's page "You are here: Home Copyright Law Claims of Copyright Infringement under the DMCA Web Site Owners: How to Protect Yourself from Claims of Copyright Infringement for Users' Conduct"
- Law professor David Nimmer's article "'Good faith' in DMCA take-down notice should mean simple honesty"
- WIPO Document" "A look back at the notice-takedown provisions of the U.S. Digital Millenium Copyright Act one year after enactment"
- Law review article "Fair use and a takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act" (requires subscription).
- Copyright website's article "Digital Millennium Copyright Act -- Safe Harbor Provisions"
American Library Association (“ALA”) Code of Ethics
The voluntary code of ethics adopted by the American Library Association to govern the work of librarians.
The code makes “known to the profession and to the general public the ethical principles that guide the work of librarians, other professionals providing information services, library trustees and library staffs.” Its tenets “provide a framework; they cannot and do not dictate conduct to cover particular situations.”
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (“ACTA”) Proposal (2007)
A proposed multi-lateral trade agreement that is designed to better enforce intellectual property rights by combating the perceived increasing threat of counterfeiting.
This counterfeiting in question can be of physical goods and copyrighted works, as well as digital and Internet-based materials and technologies. Specific details of the Agreement’s content are still mostly a secret, and some countries, including the United States, restrict access to it on the basis of national security. The Agreement is generally understood to supersede or bypass UN, WIPO and TRIPS guidelines, and would, among other things, make all peer-to-peer filesharing illegal, regardless of content.
- Text of ACTA discussion paper
- ARSTechnica page on ACTA
- Google download of treaty text
- Wikipedia article on ACTA
- Electronic Frontier Foundation page on ACTA
- Public Knowledge page on ACTA
- Intellectual Property watch article on ACTA by Canadian law professor
The means by which ownership of a copyright is transferred to another person or entity.
For example, musicians often assign the copyright to their music to their publisher or record company as part of their contract, although this is not a requirement.
- U.S. copyright office FAQ’s on “assignment”
- German word for “Assignment” and explanation of same
- Wikianswers page on “assignment”
- Sample IP license agreements
- Short article on assignment and licensing
The original creator of a work.
While the word “author” is used in common vernacular to identify the person who wrote something, such as a book, paper, or article, the term "author" is used in copyright law to identify the creator of any work. Thus, a sculptor, artist or photographer would be considered the "author" of his or her work.
If a copyright is assigned or transferred to a second person or entity, that person does not become the author, merely the new rights-holder. The original author always retains that status or description, and in some legal regimes, has certain rights that cannot be assigned, altered, or renounced.
In countries that recognize the work-for-hire doctrine, the employer can be considered the "author" of the work.
Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
The Berne Convention is an international copyright agreement that was first adopted and implemented in 1886. Its intent was to harmonize copyright law across national borders. There are currently 164 member countries.
According to Wikipedia, “The Berne Convention was revised in Paris in 1896 and in Berlin in 1908, completed in Berne in 1914, revised in Rome in 1928, in Brussels in 1948, in Stockholm in 1967 and in Paris in 1971, and was amended in 1979. The UK signed in 1887 but did not implement large parts of it until 100 years later with the passage of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988.”
The Berne Convention is currently active, and is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”).
While the convention grants authors an array of rights, the most important aspect of the Berne Convention is that countries must grant an author that is a citizen of another member country the same protections it offers its own citizens, in addition to any rights that the convention itself grants. That is to say, a French citizen’s work in Poland or Morocco automatically enjoys the same protections that the work of a Polish or Moroccan citizen would.
- Wikipedia article on the Berne convention
- Wikipedia article on the Berne convention Implementation Act of 1988
- Text of the Berne Convention
- UK resource on Berne Convention
- Britannica article on the Convention
A bilateral agreement is an agreement or treaty made directly between two countries.
This is in contrast to a “multilateral” agreement or international agreement such as the Berne Convention or TRIPS. While some bilateral agreements deal exclusively with copyright, copyright provisions may be inserted in to other, larger treaties, such as peace treaties or economic treaties.
In a bilateral agreement, an author from one country can claim copyright protections in the other country. Such agreements are often used to create copyright protections or provisions that are more stringent, or more generous, than would be possible in a broadly multinational agreement.
A Berne Convention member country may enter into bilateral agreements as long as the provisions of those agreements meet the minimum standards of the Berne Convention. For instance, although it is a member of the Berne Convention, the TRIPS Agreement, and other multilateral agreements, the United States has bilateral agreements with many different countries.
- A website devoted to international bilateral intellectual property agreements
- EFF article on Free Trade Agreement of the Americas
- Wikipedia article on US bilateral agreements
- Text of speech about U.S & Vietnam bilateral agreement
A blanket license allows a user to engage in certain uses of a large number of works under preset terms, without individual negotiation.
In the copyright context, such a license addresses all of a defined group of copyrighted works. It “covers” all of the relevant works like a blanket. In this way, it makes it easier to negotiate for the use of a work by making it possible to only make a deal once rather than entering into many separate agreements.
Usually, such licenses are granted and managed by collective rights management groups, which control access to thousands, or even millions, of copyrighted works.
- ASCAP definitions page
- Assoc. of Independent Music Publishers definition of blanket license.
- Webpage of US Copyright Clearance Center
- Webpage of Canadian copyright clearance entity
- EFF page on on collective licensing for music
“Browsewrap” is a slang term for a contract governing access to or use of content on a website that does not require the website user to click on a button or otherwise take action to expressly manifest consent to the terms of the agreemen. Typically, the Internet user is considered to have agreed to the terms of the browsewrap agreement by accessing or “browsing” the website.
The terms of a browsewrap agreement governing access to a website are not always prominently displayed to the Internet user, and instead are often listed on a separate page that can only be accessed by clicking a link at the bottom of the screen. For this reason, some commentators question whether browsewrap agreements create enforceable contracts.
- Wikipedia entry on “Browsewrap”
- US law school assignment on “wrap” licenses.
- Examples of “browsewrap” licenses
- Technical legal analysis of recent US case involving “browsewrap”
- Blog post analyzing a “browsewrap” case
- Academic paper on “browsewrap” agreements
- Canadian lawyer discusses “browsewrap” agreements
- Academic paper discussing enforceability of “browsewrap” agreements
A letter sent to an alleged copyright infringer or the entity hosting allegedly infringing material, requesting that certain activities be ceased or that access to the allegedly infringing material be disabled.
With respect to Internet content, a cease and desist letter can take the form of a "takedown notice.”
'Under the U.S. copyright legislation known as the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, a copyright holder who believes that a website is infringing the holder’s copyright, usually by hosting protected material without permission, can send a cease-and-desist letter to the entity hosting the material. The website will not be held liable if it immediately takes down the allegedly infringing work upon receipt of the takedown notice. There are procedures under which the person who posted the content can challenge a takedown notice, and have access to the restored.
- Wikipedia entry on DMCA
- A sample cease and desist letter
- Chilling Effects - a website devoted to the suppression or censorship of online speech
- Technology website article on “cease and desist” letters
- Citizen Media Law Project discussion of a particular cease and desist letter
- Scribd posting of various cease and desist letters
The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers. CISAC is an organization composed of numerous national preforming rights societies.
According to its website, CISAC “works towards increased recognition and protection of creators’ rights. CISAC was founded in 1926 and is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation. Its headquarters are in Paris, with regional offices in Budapest, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg and Singapore. . . . . As of June 2008, CISAC numbers 225 authors’ societies from 118 countries and indirectly represents more than 2.5 million creators within all the artistic repertoires: music, drama, literature, audio-visual, graphic and visual arts.”
“Clickwrap” or "Click-on"
Clickwrap or Click-on is a license agreement for a website or software to which the user agrees by clicking on a button or link.
Once the user clicks on the “I accept” or “I agree” button or link, thereby accepting the license, he or she can access the copyrighted material, and is bound by the terms of the licensing agreement. An “End-User Licensing Agreement” or “EULA” is a classic example of a “clickwrap” agreement. Since the user has no choice except to accept the licensing contract in order to access the content or program, in recent years, both courts and public opinion have begun to perceive these sorts of agreements as at least potentially oppressive.
See also “shrinkwrap contract," “contract of adhesion”
- Wikipedia article on “clickwrap”
- Decision from seminal U.S. case on “clickwrap”, ProCD v. Zeidenberg, 86 F.3d 1447 (7th Cir. 1996)
- Article analyzing license types
- An article on why such licenses are coming under criticism
Choice of Laws
The doctrine by which a court or other tribunal determines which country’s or jurisdiction’s laws will apply to a particular case or claim.
In any legal dispute that crosses political borders, whether domestic or international, there is a question of which laws will apply to the dispute. Such cross-border disputes are increasingly common in the Internet era. For instance, if an Internet user in Italy accesses a server in Sweden, and downloads a copy of a song by a U.S. recording artist, what laws should apply? Where should the trial be held?
A court hearing a suit like this will review the facts and decide what location makes the most sense for the trial, and will also decide which jurisdiction’s laws should apply. It is possible, when writing a contract, to specify what laws will govern in the event of a dispute. Occassionally, the laws of more than one country or jurisdiction might apply to different issues or claims in the same litigation.
- Wikipedia article on choice of law
- Site of “choice of laws” resources
- An academic article entitled "An Overview of Choice of Law, Jurisdiction and Foreign Judgment Enforcement in IP Disputes"
- US law review article: "Conflict of Laws and Choice of Law"
The act of avoiding, breaking or otherwise bypassing protections on digital content and technology.
Many digital or electronic resources, including online databases, software and more, come with built-in protections which in theory prevent illegal copying or impermissible uses. For example, DVDs may have a “region code” embedded in their data that prevents them from being played on DVD players from different parts of the world. Likewise, software may have added code, or encryption, which prevents it from being copied.
Although these technological barriers may arguably help to protect illegal copying or use of content, they can also get in the way of legitimate uses, such as playing a DVD on a Linux-based player, or making an archival copy of software. A user who wants to do these things will therefore have to circumvent, or break, the protection measures. However, this is illegal to do in many countries.
Notably, in the United States, Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998) specifically forbids circumvention of technological protection measures, and even makes it illegal to sell or own anything that facilitates circumvention.
Laws like Section 1201 are controversial, because from one perspective, the protections a law like this facilitates are parallel to, and can last longer than, those offered by copyright. This arguably defeats the purpose of copyright law’s limited duration protections, violates copyright’s implicit bargain with the public and harms the public domain.
- Chilling Effects website on anticircumvention
- Wikipedia article on aticircumvention
- U.S. Government's website on copyright
- Abstract of academic paper on anticircumvention
- An academic paper: “Anti-circumvention Misuse”
- Berkman Center resource on anticircumvention
- Google Book excerpt from EU Digital Copyright Law and the End-User
- PDF of Canadian law professor Michael Geist's article “Anti-circumvention Legislation and Competition Policy”
- Academic article: “Protecting fair use from digital rights management in China”
The set of rights granted to the author of a creative work that govern certain third party uses of the work.
These rights vary from country to country, although there is substantial international harmonization. They can typically be divided into economic rights and so-called “moral” rights.
With respect to the economic rights, they essentially represent a temporary monopoly over the creative work in question. In theory, this monopoly control is supposed to incentivize and reward creator, convincing them to create more. However, when the term of copyright ends, the work belongs to the public. The public’s gains from the creation of new works is thought to compensate for the inefficiencies that a monopoly represents. Economic rights are truly “property” in that they can be sold, assigned, inherited, divided up, and more.
With respect to “moral” rights, these belong to the author at the moment of creation, and cannot usually be transferred to anyone else.
- US Government’s copyright website
- EU’s copyright website
- EU internal markets copyright website
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office website
- Private website devoted to EU copyright law
- Copy of Chinese copyright law (English)
- Copy of Japan’s copyright law (English)
A legal system based primarily on custom and the precedent of court decisions.
International legal systems tend to fall into one of three categories. Typically found within countries that have some historical connection with the United Kingdom or the former British Empire ,“common law” systems have a legal system based primarily on custom -- the precedent set by court decisions (“case law”) , in contrast to civil law systems or religious law systems.
- Wikipedia Article on the “common law”
- Google Book, The Common Law by O.W. Holmes
- Britannica article on the “common law”
Collective Rights Management Organization/Society
An organization that controls the economic rights to a large number of creative works.
Also known as “collecting society” or a "copyright collective.”
A collective rights management organization or society most often deals with the rights to music and text. These groups lower the transaction costs of acquiring rights, and make it easy for would-be users of copyrighted works to get permission to do so. With a collective rights group, there need only be one set of negotiations and one fee paid, regardless of how many different works are used. Compare having to find and negotiate with the rights-holders for one hundred different songs with negotiating a single contract.
While groups like this undoubtedly solve a market problem, criticisms leveled against them include that they do not channel enough of the fees they receive to the actual artists, and that they seek to unfairly charge for uses over which they should not have control. Also, most notably, there are no collective rights groups managing the rights to sound recordings, which has led to much controversy over sampling.
Some collective rights management organizations include:
- ASCAP (United States)
- CISAC (International)
- SoundExchange (United States)
- Harry Fox Agency (United States)
- GESAC (European Union)
- AGICOA website (International)
- BIEM (International)
- CEPIC (European Union)
- IGE (Switzerland)
- EIFL handbook on Collective rights
- Academic paper “Economic Functions of Collecting Societies - Collective Rights Management in the Light of Transaction Cost - and Information Economics”
- Dutch slide presentation on collective rights and Creative Commons
A license for use of copyrighted material that is mandated by law to be made available to everyone on an equal basis, usually in exchange for the payment of a set fee.
From the user’s perspective, it is a use for which the user does not need to seek permission. That is, the rights-holder may not refuse to grant the license to the user. The rights-holder still has the right to whatever revenue comes from the use, but has no rights of control.
Such licenses are always non-exclusive, since anyone can obtain one, and the fees that are paid to the rights-holder for them are usually set by statute. An example of a compulsory license is the so-called “mechanical license” under U.S. law for recording a new version of an existing song. Once a song has been released to the public, any other artist may record a version of it, and must pay a set fee (currently 2.5 cents per copy) to the rights-holder of that song.
This is not the only example of a compulsory license. There is a wide variety, whose nature and terms depend on the laws of the country in question, and the nature of the work. Compulsory licensing schemes exist for music, text, pharmaceuticals and more.
Recently, some copyright scholars and activists have proposed that the solution to the perceived problem of peer-to-peer filesharing will be some sort of compulsory licensing scheme. Filesharing would become legal, but artists would get paid, most likely out of a fund created by levying taxes on recordable media and associated technologies.
- Wikipedia article on compulsory licenses
- US Government PDF on compulsory licenses
- Website with list of resources on compulsory licensing (English)
- Academic blog on compulsory licensing, with links to other posts
- WTO website
- Robert Merges of the Cato Institute's analysis of compulsory licensing (English, US) academic, English
- Academic article “Compulsory licensing of IP rights: Has EC competition law reached a clear and rational analysis following the IMS judgment and the Microsoft decision?
A legal system in which the law is based almost exclusively on legislation.
Such a system is as opposed to a common law system (based on tradition and court decisions) or a religious law system. Civil law regimes tend to be either inspired by or directly descended from Roman legal systems.
According to Wikipedia, “The principle of civil law is to provide all citizens with an accessible and written collection of the laws which apply to them and which judges must follow. It is the most prevalent and oldest surviving legal system in the world.”
Most of Europe and its former colonies have civil law-based legal systems, many of which hearken back to the Napoleonic Code.
This version of civil law is not to be confused with the sort that occurs in the civil law / criminal law distinction, in, among others, U.S. law.
- Wikipedia Article on Civil Law
- Britannica article on Civil Law
- PDF “A Primer on the Civil Law System” (academic)
- List of resources on Civil Law
This term refers to both the property that is owned by the community in general and the social regime for governing usage of that resource.
Some historical commons were truly open to all, but some were governed by rules that limited access. However, despite what might seem like a complete lack of any rules for governing the maintenance and usage of a commons, they were historically at the center of a complex web of social norms, and were well-monitored and maintained.
In the late 1960s a school of thought emerged whcih claimed that any real commons would quickly be over-exploited by an economically rational user, and that only private ownership could successfully manage societal resources.
Although this idea was quickly and widely accepted, it has been challenged in recent years for misstating the facts surrounding historical commons, as well as for overlooking the real problems that can arise from complex webs of private ownership, a problem Michael Heller has called “the tragedy of the anti-commons.”
With respect to copyright, the commons is the enormous body of creative work to which all of society has access. Some is historical, some is contemporary. Everyone having access to them does not necessarily mean that no one holds copyright in the works that make up the commons. Some works are in the public domain, which means that not only can anyone access them and make use of them, but that no one has the right to restrict their usage in anyway. On the other hand, works existing under regimes such as Creative Commons, or the GPL license , as well as so-called “Open Access” journals, are examples of copyright-controlled information that is nonetheless part of the commons. For example, the works of Shakespeare, or a culture’s folktales, are part of the commons, as is any modern work which its author has dedicated to the public domain. Further, any work to which anyone has access, but for which the usages are restricted (usually with respect to keeping further uses of the work open to access) are still considered part of the commons.
- Garret Hardin’s seminal 1968 article on “Tragedy of the Commons”
- Wikipedia article on "tragedy of the commons"
- Garrett Hardin interview
- Flickr’s archive of photos in the commons. a public photography archive
- The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind by James Boyle
- Michael Heller’s website
- Academic article "Creating An Intellectual commons Through Open Access" by Peter Suber
A work that gathers together other previously existing copyrighted works or facts.
For example, an anthology of stories is a compilation. A recording that brought together songs from a wide variety of artists, such as a soundtrack album, would be a compilation. A database is also a compilation, of facts rather than creative works. In many jurisdictions, it is possible to hold a separate copyright in a compilation that is independent of any copyright in the works that make it up, as long as there is sufficient creativity in the selection and arrangement of the works. It is also possible to hold copyright in a database, based on the selection and arrangement of its factual elements, or alternatively, based on the effort that went into creating it.
- U.S. Law on compilations
- US legal resources on compilations (English, US)
- Legal website's page on databases (English, US)
- Australian law review article “Compilation Copyright: A Matter Calling for 'a Certain...Sobriety'"
- A list of compilation cases
- Google Book excerpt: Kennneth Crews on compilations
- Text of Feist v Rural Telephone, the seminal U.S. case on copyright in compilations
An abbreviation of the “Conference on Fair Use.”
The Conference on Fair Use was a series of meetings held in the United States in the mid to late 1990s. The purpose of CONFU was to have a meaningful discussion about “fair use” in an increasingly digital age, especially for academics and librarians. However, due in large part to fundamental disagreements among the various represented interest groups, the meetings failed to achieve any meaningful consensus.
- Text of CONFU report
- CONFU page from University of Texas’ copyright guidelines. (English, US)
- University of Texas guidelines about use of images
- Association of Research libraries resource on CONFU
Counterfeiting is the practice of making illegal copies of something and then attempting to pass the copies off as the real thing.
Almost anything can be copied, whether currency, material goods, or intellectual property. A counterfeiter hopes to take advantage of any positive reputation that the original enjoys without having to invest time and resources in creating it. Counterfeits damage the original by competing with it in the marketplace and by hurting the original’s reputation.
A collection of documents put together by a teacher as a resource for students in a particular course or class.
Often, teachers with a specific curriculum in mind will wish to assemble their own materials rather than teach from a particular textbook. As a corollary to this, a teacher creating a curriculum drawing on a wide range of resources may wish to simply provide her students with only the materials they need, rather than requiring them to purchase many books, often at great cost, each of which will contain only a small piece of the curriculum, and the majority of the contents of which will be superfluous.
Of course, creating such a “course pack” necessitates the copying of the relevant works, implicating copyright law. Such copying may or may not fall under fair use, fair dealing, or other exceptions to copyright, depending on the circumstances and the jurisdiction. There have been two seminal cases in the United States dealing with course packs and copyright, both of which were resolved against the universities in question. It is noteworthy, though, that each of those cases involved a for-profit copying service.
- Stanford Fair Use Center on course packs
- Text of Princeton Univ. v. Michigan Document Servs., 99 F.3d 1381 (6th Cir. 1996).)
- Text of Basic Books Inc. v. Kinko's Graphics Corp., 758 F.Supp. 1522 (S.D. N.Y. 1991).)
- Professional course pack service
- Article on course packs.
- Article on course packs from American Assoc. of University Publishers
- A distance learning organization’s course pack request form
- Canadian article on using course packs online
“Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright.”
The above definition comes from the Creative Commons website. The organization was founded in 2001 by, among others, Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig. Its goal was to provide simple, easy to understand and use copyright licenses that would allow creators to share their work with the world under terms they were comfortable with, so people can share, remix, and/or use them commercially, rather than the default terms offered by statute. Currently, Creative Commons offers 6 different licenses (in 50 countries and counting), whose features vary according to their permissiveness, and the uses they allow. The existence and terms of these special licenses are communicated to users by employing both the Creative Commons name and a series of icons that suggest the specific terms of the license.
A 2008 U.S. case, Jacobsen v. Katzer, concerning later usage of software licensed under a license similar in style and intent to those offered by Creative Commons held that the license was a valid one, and that violating it terms constituted copyright infringement. The ruling greatly strengthened the enforceability of such agreements, helping their use to be perceived as more mainstream and legitimate.
- Creative Commons’ website
- Stanford Fair Use site on the Jacobsen v. Katzer case above
- US law firm analyzes legal implications of Jacobsen v. Katzer
A creative work that represents the creative input of more than one author.
When two or more people share the copyright in a work they are referred to as “joint authors” A movie is a classic example of a collective work, involving as it does the efforts of hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Nevertheless, the rights to collective works are usually held by only one, or at most a few, people. In the case of a movie, most of the people working on it are treated, by their contract, as employees, rather than as joint authors.
The money given to a copyright holder to compensate him or her for the harm caused by infringement.
Whenever the copyright in a work is infringed, there is at least the theoretical possibility that the legal holder of the copyright has been harmed in some way. If the rights-holder sues the infringer and wins, a court may award damages to the rights holder as way of compensating them for any damage that has been done. A rights-holder may seek actual or statutory monetary damages,depending on which she thinks are more valuable, or easier to determine, or an injunction compelling the defendant to cease the infringing activities.
Actual damages represent the true cost of the harm suffered as a result of the infringement.
For example, if it were possible to determine exactly how many sales had been lost as a result of an act or acts of infringement, it would be possible to calculate actual damages. One thousand sales lost, at a profit of ten euros a sale = ten thousand euros damages. In practice, it can be very difficult to accurately calculate actual damages. When this is true, statutory damage provisions will frequently be used instead.
Statutory damages are damages where the amount of money a rights-holder may collect as damages is set by statutes.
Many legal regimes contain provisions for statutory damages. For example, in US law, 17 USCA 504(c) states that “Except as provided by clause (2) of this subsection, the copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just.” For willful infringement, the amount can go up to $150,000!
- Australian law firm’s analysis of case where artist is awarded damages for moral rights
- PDF of "An Artist’s Guide to VARA"
- Wikipedia article on VARA
- IP lawyer discusses VARA
- Text of VARA
- Article discussing an artist’s lawsuit over desecration
A database is a collection of data on a particular topic or topics, usually searchable, aggregated into one place.
Databases have an unusual relationship with copyright. The creator of a database can hold copyright in the database, but only in certain aspects of it, because the contents of a database are either facts, in which case they aren’t copyrightable at all, or they are non-factual, but therefore already under copyright, and controlled by different rights-holders. However, a lot of work can go into creating a database, and some jurisdictions recognize and protect that labor.
For example, in the U.S., the copyright in databases is colloquially known as “thin” ( as opposed to "thick") and is only in the selection and arrangement of the materials. On the other hand, in the European union, databases receive 15 years of protection to protect the investment of time, money and resources on the part of the database creator.
- Google Books Entry Legal Protection of Databases by Mark J. Davison
- EU’s webpage on database and their protection
- American law professor Lolly Gasaway’s paper on databases
- Testimony to US government on database protection act
- US Copyright Office’s report on legal protection for databases
- PDF of WIPO report on effects of international legal protection for databases
The practice of sifting through large quantities of data, often in a database, to identify and make use of the patterns and details that emerge.
For example, consumer goods corporations mine the data generated by frequent shopper cards in order to better target advertisements. The company Google mines the data generated by the searches it performs to more accurately perform subsequent searches and to effectively target the advertisements that are alongside. Scientists mine the data generated by large-scale surveys of natural phenomena, whether astronomical observations or genetic codes.
Depending on the sort of data being mined, privacy issues can become a very real and important concern.
- Wikipedia article on data mining
- Wikipedia article on data mining standards
- Article “What is Data mining?"
- PDF of US Legislature report on data mining
- Article “The Policy Tools of Securitization: Data Mining, EU Foreign and Interior Policies”
- Report from the Sixth International Conference on Data Mining-Copyright
A derivative work is one that adapts or modifies an existing work, drawing on that work for its substance and general material.
A film based on a novel is a derivative work of that novel. An action figure based on a character from an original film is a derivative work of the film.
A derivative work may or may not be copyrightable on its own, depending on how much original material it contains, and whether permissions were granted for the copied material. The U.S. copyright office says “To be copyrightable, a derivative work must be different enough from the original to be regarded as a new work or must contain a substantial amount of new material.”
For example, Alfred Bester’s novel The Stars My Destination is inspired by and modeled after Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. It is arguably a derivative work of that older novel. However, Bester's book clearly has sufficient original material to qualify for copyright protection on its own, and further, is original enough that it would not infringe copyright in Dumas’ book, were that book still protected by copyright. On the other hand, an independent screenwriter's new screenplay featuring the "Rocky" character made famous by Sylvester Stallone was found to be clearly a derivative work, in which no copyright could be had.
- Chilling Effects webpage on derivative works
- Chilling Effects FAQ on derivative works
- Computer industry article on derivative works
- US Government circular on derivative works
- Wikipedia article on derivative works
- Text of seminal US court decision on derivative works, Lee vs. A.R.T.
The DMCA is the short name for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The DMCA is copyright legislation that was passed in the United States in 1998. Its intended purposes were to bring U.S.copyright law more into harmony with international norms and to address many of the new concerns that digital technology and file-sharing raised. The DMCA contains the now-notorious anti-circumvention provisions, which made it illegal, even for a legitimate user, to avoid, break or disable any technological measures protecting content. It also created what are known as “safe harbors”, descriptions of behavior where Internet service providers could be certain they would not be legally liable for the actions of their users.
- Text of the DMCA
- US Copyright Office’s explanation of the DMCA
- EFF webpage on DMCA
- Text of WIPO treaty to which the DMCA responded
- Chilling Effects FAQs on DMCA
- Wikipedia Article on DMCA
- News editorial on DMCA
- Second Life white paper on DMCA take-down notices
DRM, or “Digital Rights Management” is a catch-all term for any technological measures, usually but not always software-based, that are put in place to protect copyrighted content.
DRM usually works by restricting access to the content in some way. DRM applies to all would-be users of the content, event those who have purchased it, or the right to access it, legally. Most DRM techniques are also easily circumvented by a technically adept and/or determined user. Therefore, DRM has the net effect of inconveniencing legitimate users, sometimes seriously, and being a minor inconvenience at best for professional criminal users. Additionally, certain forms of DRM can raise serious privacy concerns, as well as call into question the very idea of “ownership” of digital information.
For these reasons, DRM has been heavily criticized, and there may be a trend in the content industry away from its use. For example, after many complaints from users, iTunes and Amazon now offer DRM-free music downloads, and most of the major record labels have given up on DRM for digital music. However, the Recording Industry Of America, and the Motion Picture Industry of America have both said that they see DRM being part of their business models for the foreseeable future.
- Wikipedia article on DRM
- Article discussing DRM and its prospects
- News article on DRM in music industry
- Webpage for international workshop on DRM
- EFF webpage on DRM
- Wikipedia article on Sony’s rootkit scandal
- US’s National Public Radio story on DRM
- Article on European DRM interoperability
Due diligence refers to the level of effort someone must make in order to have fulfilled their legal duties in a particular situation.
It is the standard of care that person must exercise. In the copyright context, the term is most often encountered with respect to the necessary efforts a would-be user of content must make to locate the holder of the rights in a particular piece of content. This has become an important concept recently with respect to so-called ”orphan works” and the Google Book Search project.
- Wikipedia article on due diligence
- An economist’s article on copyright reform
- Short legal article on due diligence
- Chinese website’s analysis on due diligence in Chinese copyright law
- Text of testimony to US Senate, concerning orphan works
- Public Knowledge’s page on orphan works
- US Copyright Office webpage on orphan works
The rights associated with copyright that allow the rights holder to exercise control over use of the work for economic benefit.
Economic rights include, among others, the right to make and sell copies, to perform the work publicly, and to prepare derivative works.
A nonprofit organization that advocates for access to library resources across the world.
According to EIFL's website:
“EIFL is a not for profit organisation that supports and advocates for the wide availability of electronic resources by library users in transitional and developing countries.
"EIFL’s core activities are negotiating affordable subscriptions on a multi-country consortial basis, supporting national library consortia and maintaining a global knowledge sharing and capacity building network in related areas, such as open access publishing, intellectual property rights, open source software for libraries and the creation of institutional repositories of local content.
The EIFL vision is to provide leadership and be a strong international advocate for expanded availability of electronic resources and to enhance the skills base of EIFL's library consortia, so that they are at the leading edge of developments. EIFL’s mission is to: (1) assist in the building of strong national consortia; (2) be the premier multi-country negotiator for securing affordable commercial electronic information services; (3) provide strong advocacy and support for the development and accessibility of local digital resources; (4) provide an effective central advisory and capacity building program in open access publishing, copyright and free and open source software for libraries (5) leverage multi-national expertise and resources to fulfill this mission; (6) provide top quality educational and consulting services; (7) be an advocate for the adoption and advancement of effective information distribution models; and (8) develop model partnerships with global funding agencies, foundations, consortial groups, and content providers.”
Exceptions and Limitations
The exceptions and limitations to the otherwise exclusive rights of a copyright holder.
While copyright is usually conceptualized as the granting of a monopoly for a limited period of time, there are nearly always exceptions and limitations to the otherwise exclusive rights of a copyright holder. These can be statutory or customary, and represent uses for which a user need not get permission, or for which fees are preset, or something else that places limits on the monopoly of the copyright holder. These exceptions and limitations are often driven by public policy concerns.
“Fair use” in U.S. law and “fair dealing” in some other parts of the world, are classic examples of doctrines that place a limitation on the copyright holder’s monopoly. Any form of compulsory licensing would be another. Some exceptions are directed at particular classes of user, such as the exceptions pertaining to making copies for the disabled.
Rule-based exceptions are those whose qualities are described in specific detail, so that a particular use either does or does not qualify as an exception.
The Chaffee Amendment in U.S. Copyright law that exempts the making of copies for the disabled is an example of a rule-based exception.
A guideline-based exception or limitation is one that sets forth one or more factors to consider when determining whether a particular use is fair, rather than hard and fast bright-line rules.
Any particular use must be evaluated on an individual basis to determine if it qualifies for the exception. For example, the “fair use” doctrine in U.S. law, which lists four non-exhaustive factors and partial list of suggested fair uses, is a guideline-based exception.
Libraries are often treated as a special sub-class of users of copyrighted material because of the public nature of their mission and the strong public policy arguments in their favor. As such, they enjoy a unique set of exceptions and limits on copyright law in many countries. While the copyright law concerning libraries varies from country to country, there are some near-universal general exceptions for libraries.
Libraries are frequently permitted to make copies of works in order to preserve them, or for archival purposes, without violating the copyright in those works.
This is in line with the traditional role of libraries as repositories of knowledge.
Under certain circumstances, libraries are permitted to make copies of copyrighted works for the purpose of loaning them to patrons or to other libraries without violating the copyright in those works.
Libraries are often permitted to make copies of copyrighted works for research purposes (whether their own or that of their patrons) without violating the copyright in those works.
- Wikipedia article on limitations and exceptions
- US Copyright Office’s Rulemaking on Exemptions from Prohibition on Circumvention of Technological Measures that Control Access to Copyrighted Works
- International Federation of Library Associations Statement of Principles on exceptions and limitations
- Open Courseware Consortium’s wiki on exceptions and limitations
- PDF of IFRRO's joint position on exceptions and limitations – statement to WIPO
- IFLA Statement of Principles on Copyright Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries and Archives
- Law professors’ blog analysis “DRM and Copyright Exceptions for Libraries: Empirical Assessment of Article 6(4) of the Information Society Directive”
- WIPO study on exceptions
- eIFL press release on exceptions and limitations
- Kenneth Crews study on limitations and exceptions
- Copyright Alliance Statement on exceptions and limitation
A tenet of U.S. copyright law that describes the circumstances under which one can sometimes make use of protected works without first getting permission or paying the rights holder.
Fair use is a tenet of U.S. copyright law, found in 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is often referred to as a “safety valve” for free speech, and is one of the two aspects of U.S. copyright law that help to prevent copyright’s monopoly from interfering with freedom of speech, another important U.S. right enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. (The other aspect of U.S. copyright law that seeks to balance the copyright monopoly against the public's interest in free speech is the idea/expression dichotomy.)
Fair use is a set of guidelines, rather than a rule, and is evaluated on a case-by-case basis according to four non-exclusive factors. These are:
The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
The nature of the copyrighted work;
The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work .
Because of its status as a "safety valve" for speech, fair use is often called upon or relied on by content users attempting to assert their rights under copyright law. However, because fair use is not clearly defined and can be hard to interpret, and because a copyright lawsuit can be extremely expensive, many users are scared or reluctant to rely on fair use when they use copyrighted works. This, in turn, has led to an effort by some groups to “reclaim fair use” for the public, and prevent what author Lewis Hyde has called “the third enclosure” of the common, that of the mind.
- US Copyright Office page on fair use
- Text of US law on fair use
- Stanford University Libraries’ Fair Use page
- Center for Social Media’s fair use section
- EFF page on fair use
- Berkman Webpage for “Freedom To Teach” about fair use in teaching
- NY Times article on Freedom to Teach founder Lewis Hyde
- Wikipedia article on fair use
- Academic paper on fair use "Google Book Search: Fair Use, Fair Dealing and the Case for Intermediary Copying"
The term used in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth nations to describe the circumstances under which one can use copyrighted works without payments or permission.
Somewhat similar to the concept of “fair use” in the United States, “fair dealing” is found in many common law jurisdictions, such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and others. Unlike fair use, which is a set of guidelines, fair dealing in most countries is limited specific categories of use. If a particular use falls into one of these categories, a court will ascertain whether, on balance, it should be considered "fair." It is usually considered somewhat more predictable but also somewhat less flexible than the concept of “fair use” employed in the United States.
- Australian Copyright Council document on fair dealing
- Academic paper "Google Book Search: Fair Use, Fair Dealing and the Case for Intermediary Copying"
- analysis of fair dealing
- UK fair dealing guidelines
- Canadian blog analysis of fair dealing
- Academic paper "Healing Fair Dealing? A Comparative Copyright Analysis of Canadian Fair Dealing to UK Fair Dealing and US Fair Use"
- Lawyer’s discussion of UK fair dealing
- Wikipedia article on fair dealing
First Sale doctrine
The idea that once the first legitimate sale of a physical embodyment of a copyrighted work has taken place, the copyright holder has no claim to control further sales or many uses of the particular copy.
The first sale doctrine is a concept found in U.S. copyright law, and in some form in some other jurisdictions where it may be known as ”exhaustion of rights.” For example, if a person buys a book (a physical paper copy), that person can resell the book without the permission of the rights-holder.
The first sale doctrine has become more important with the advent of non-rivalrous digital goods, goods that can be copied and shared without transfers of possession. The question of what it means to “own” something is now more difficult to answer. Many software companies and other purveyors of digital goods have attempted to handle this by saying that users are actually purchasing a license to use, rather than buying an actual “thing.” This distinction is often lost on users, though, who are frequently baffled and frustrated when they cannot do things they assumed they could with something that, in their minds, they own.
- Wikipedia article on first sale
- Wikipedia article on exhaustion of rights
- Canadian discussion of exhaustion of rights
- William Patry blog entry on first sale and possible exceptions
- US law journal article discussing US Supreme Court decision on first sale
- PDF of Berkman Center paper on first sale and iTunes
- Article on first sale doctrine in international intellectual property law
- EU directive referencing first sale
- Google Book: WIPO guide on the licensing of copyright and related rights
Reduction of a work of authorship into some tangible form, which is required for copyright protection in many countries.
Fixation is one of the fundamental tenets of U.S copyright law, and plays an important role in that of other countries as well. Such fixation might include writing something down, recording it, placing it on film, or making it. For legal systems with a fixation requirement, it is the fixing that changes an idea into a copyrightable work.
The fixation requirement can lead to some interesting results for creative art form that do not normally record or otherwise fix their expression, such as dance choreography, stand-up comedy, recipes, or the performance of live music. U.S. law has a specific statutory exception mandating that performers of live music still hold rights in it even if they are not recording it, and that others cannot record the performance without their permission.
Perhaps surprisingly, some jurisdictions do not have a fixation requirement, choosing instead to vest copyright in a work using other criteria. For example, Swiss law requires only that a work have “individual character”. Other countries with no fixation requirement include Sweden, Japan, Spain and France, among others. The Berne Convention does not require fixation, although a country may do so in its internal copyright laws without violating the Convention.
- US law review article "To Fix, or Not to Fix: Copyright's Fixation Requirement and the Rights of Theatrical Collaborators"
- Wikipedia article on Canadian fixation requirements
- Text of US law on fixation: 17 USCA 1101
- Google Book excerpt: from Principles of Intellectual Property Law by Catherine Colston
- Google Book excerpt: Research Handbook on Future of EU Copyright by Estelle Derclaye
- English law firm’s explanation of fixation
Free trade agreement
A free-trade agreement (or FTA) is a treaty between two or more countries that establishes trade guidelines so that trade between participating countries is theoretically unrestricted by tariffs.
Often, such agreements include copyright-related clauses.
The GNU-GPL license is an open source software license.
One of the most well known symbols of the free software movement, which is sometimes called FOSS, for “Free open source software”. GNU is an open source operating system, upwardly compatible with Unix.
Richard Stallman started working on GNU at MIT in 1984, and founded the Free Software Foundation in 1985 to help his efforts. When GNU was incorporated with the Linux kernel, the combination became the GNU/Linux system, now found in various different software distributions.
GPL stands for “General Public License”. GPL licenses must contain what are referred to as the ”four freedoms”, which are:
- The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
- The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
- The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
- The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
A program is free software if users have all of these freedoms.
- GNU’s webpage on GPL licenses
- Creative Commons webpage on GPL
- Opensource’s page on GPL
- Linux.org’s page on GNU
- Wikipedia article on GNU/GPL
A slang term for recent French legislation [2008-09] designed to regulate Internet usage in accordance with existing French copyright law.
“HADOPI” is an acronym referring to the name of the French government agency that would be created by the bill, the High Authority for Copyright Protection and Dissemination of Works on the Internet.
The HADOPI law was the subject of intense lobbying, both for and against it, and became notorious for its so-called “three strikes provision” and for the fact that in its original form, it provided that an Internet user could be sanctioned after having only been accused of copyright infringement. Although the law eventually passed, the French high court later stuck down this part of the bill as unconstitutional. Soon afterwards, techophile enthusiasts demonstrated that it would be technologically feasible to disguise Internet usage in a way that would call the laws basic effectiveness into question.
- Wikipedia article on HADOPI
- EFF discussion of French “three-strikes”
- French Wikipedia article on the HADOPI law
- News article on HADOPI law
- Article on possible flaws in HADOPI’s provisions
- French article on HADOPI
- Flickr page discussing HADOPI
- IP-Watch article on HADOPI
- Wendy Seltzer on HADOPI
- US Lawyer specializing in music copyright and P2P filesharing discusses HADOPI
The ritual or formulaic observances that must take place in certain jurisdictions before a work can qualify for copyright protections, or before suit can be filed.
For example, although the U.S. officially abandoned formalities with its 1976 Copyright Act,it is still the case that a work acquires copyright at the moment of creation, but the work must be officially registered with the copyright office before suit can be filed for infringement. At other times in copyright’s history, copyright was conferred at creation, for a period of years, and could then be explicitly renewed for a second period when the first one expired.
The Berne Convention explicitly forbids formalities. Article 5, Section 2 reads:
“The enjoyment and the exercise of these rights shall not be subject to any formality; such enjoyment and such exercise shall be independent of the existence of protection in the country of origin of the work. Consequently, apart from the provisions of this Convention, the extent of protection, as well as the means of redress afforded to the author to protect his rights, shall be governed exclusively by the laws of the country where protection is claimed.”
However, some copyright scholars and activists believe that copyright is actually too easy to acquire and sustain, resulting in, among others, the orphan works problem. These people advocate for at least some formalities for copyright, most often having to do with renewal, so that a work whose rights-holder failed to renew copyright would fall into the public domain.
- Article on formalities
- Legal wiki’s page on formalities
- US law professor James Grimmelmann discusses formalities
- Web page on formalities
- Cost benefit analysis of US copyright formalities
- Stanford Center For Internet and Society’s discussion of Canadian formalities
Idea / Expression Dichotomy
The concept that ideas cannot be copyrighted, but their particular expression can.
The idea / expression dichotomy is fundamental in copyright law. For example, the particular text of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series of vampire novels is protected by copyright, but the idea of a girl falling in love with a vampire cannot be protected.
While this may seem obvious or self-evident, the line between the two is not always so easy to find, and aggressive rights-holders continue to try to push the limits of to what they can claim copyright. For example, in the U.S. case Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., the holder of the rights to the intellectual property making up the James Bond character successfully sued an automobile company for an advertisement they had aired. MGM claimed that the ad’s content was sufficiently similar to or evocative of, James Bond, that it had infringed, although no actual copying took place.
'In U.S. law, idea / expression is usually held up, along with fair use, as a “safety valve” that prevents the monopolies granted by copyright from interfering with public policy, freedom of speech, and more.
Under certain circumstances, courts have held that there are a limited number of ways in which to express a particular idea (such as the rules for lotteries or sweepstakes) and that therefore, no copyright can be held in those materials. This is known as the “merger” doctrine.
- Wikipedia article on idea/expression
- US law review article: "The Idea-Expression dichotomy in copyright law
- Technology blog article on idea/expression
- Canadian law review article "A Rights-Based View of the Idea/Expression Dichotomy in Copyright Law"
- Google Book excerpt on idea/expression from "Copyright Exceptions: the digital divide" by Robert Burrell and Alison Coleman
- US law review article "A First Amendment Perspective on the Idea/Expression Dichotomy and Copyright in A Work's Total Concept and Feel"
- Text of US Supreme court case discussing idea/expression - Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
According to the IFLA website, “The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession.”
The International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations
“The International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO) is an independent organisation established on the basis of the fundamental international copyright principles embodied in the Berne and Universal Copyright Conventions. Its purpose is to facilitate, on an international basis, the collective management of reproduction and other rights relevant to copyrighted works through the co-operation of national Reproduction Rights Organisations (RROs). Collective or centralised rights management is preferable where individual exercise of rights is impractical.
IFRRO through its members supports creators and publishers alike and provides internationally a common platform for them to foster the establishment of appropriate legal frameworks for the protection and use of their works.
IFRRO works to increase on an international basis the lawful use of text and image based copyright works and to eliminate unauthorised copying by promoting efficient Collective Management of rights through RROs to complement creators' and publishers' own activities.”
The aspects of copyright law designed to motivate creators to create.
Copyright law grants to the rights-holder, for a limited time, a monopoly over uses of the copyrighted work. Since monopolies are usually considered inefficient, the justification for doing this is usually described as providing the necessary incentives to creators to get them to create. That is, without the incentive of being able to benefit economically by exploiting control of the work, why would an artist create? This is often called the economic theory of creator incentives, or something similar. The assumption is that there is a net gain for society. For example, the Copyright clause of the U.S. Constitution reads “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”
The incentive driven view of copyright and creation has come under some criticism for failing to take into account the many different motivations artists have for creating their work, some of which are not financial at all. Other critics point out that even if incentive theory is accurate, extremely long copyright terms do not increase the economic or monetary value of copyright, arguing against term extensions.
- US law review article "The Internet, Creativity and Copyright Incentives"
- US law review article "The Pope's Copyright? Aligning Incentives with Reality by Using Creative Motivation to Shape Copyright Protection"
- US law review article "Foreseeability and Copyright Incentives"
- US legal academic blog entry discussing paper from #3 above
- US law review article "Eldred and Lochner: Copyright Term Extension and Intellectual Property as Constitutional Property"
- US Supreme court Justice Breyer's dissenting opinion in Eldred v. Ashcroft
- Affidavit of Dean of the School of Information Management and Systems at the University of California, Berkeley, in Eldred v. Ashcroft
- One of many blog entries on incentives from renowned US copyright legal scholar William Patry
Literally, an effort of the mind, as opposed to a physical effort. The phrase is often synonymous with “creativity”.
In copyright law, this concept is important because not everything qualifies for copyright protection. Most importantly, simply having spent a lot of time and energy on something is not usually enough to qualify for copyright. However, in recent legislation, databases of facts have received protection solely by virtue of the effort that went into them.
Each jurisdiction has a different set of criteria as to what may receive copyright. The U.S. requires that the work be the result of creative input, but has a very low threshold for creativity. The U.S. also requires that the work be fixed in a tangible form. Italian law, for example, states things a little differently, and states that a work must involve an intellectual effort and possess creative character.
Violation without justification or excuse of one or more of the exclusive rights in a work granted by copyright law.
For example, if a copy of a book, song, or computer program is made, or a song or play performed without permission, the copyright in that work has been infringed. What sort of infringement has taken place depends on the level of knowledge and involvement of the infringer.
Direct infringement takes place when a person who is not the rightsholder performs or engages in one of the activities that the copyright holder has the exclusive right to perform.
Direct infringment is the most common kind of infringement, and takes place whenever a user violates any of the rights granted to a copyright holder.
“A plaintiff must meet two requirements to establish a prima facie case of copyright infringement: (1) ownership of the allegedly infringed material and (2) violation by the alleged infringer of at least one of the exclusive rights granted to copyright holders.” -- LGS Architects, Inc. v. Concordia Homes of Nev., 434 F.3d 1150, 1156 (9th Cir. 1996)
For example, if a copy has been made without permission, that is direct infringement.
These are two types of of infringement that take place in conjunction with direct infringement.
NOTE: There can be no indirect or secondary infringement without a concurrent act of direct infringement. An act qualifies as a particular type of infringement according to the knowledge, intent and abilities of the infringer.
A contributory infringer has knowledge of the related direct infringement, i.e. that it is taking place; and must make a material contribution to it in some way.
Examples of contributory infringement would be a CD factory owner who knows that his machines are being used to make illegal copies of protected works, or someone who provides software tools for cracking encryption regimes.
A vicarious infringer is one who, while not deliberately encouraging or materially contributing to the direct infringement, has the right and ability to control or prevent infringement, and benefits from it, even if he or she does not realize the infringement is taking place.
Vicarious infringment is roughly akin to “you should have known infringement was taking place, and done something about it.
A club owner who hires performers who then play protected works without permission to do so, and without the owner’s knowledge, is vicariously infringing. The owner herself is not infringing, or helping the performer to do so, but she could make sure of the performer’s licensing, and she is indirectly profiting from the infringement, because of the revenues from patrons of the club. Another example would be someone who runs an outdoor market, renting stalls to vendors. If a particular vendor is selling infringing goods, the market owner is vicariously infringing. (For a classic example in US law, see Fonovisa Inc. v. Cherry Auction, Inc., 847 F.Supp. 1492 (E.D. Cal. 1994).
The idea that someone might not only make the means of infringement possible, but might encourage others to infringe, even if the inducer is not profiting, either directly or indirectly.
Inducement was perhaps made most famous by the US case M.G.M. v Grokster. In the Grokster case, the court found Grokster liable for indirect infringement, because it had actively induced others to directly infringed, regardless of any substantial non-infringing use of the Grokster technology. This was in contrast to the Sony v Betamax decision in the 1080’s which found video recorders non-infringing because they could be used in non-infringing ways, and because Sony had not encouraged infringing uses.
- Chilling Effects webpage on "piracy"
- chilling Effects FAQ on DMCA Section 512
- "Law for non-lawyers" website's page on contributory infringement
- "Law for non-lawyers" website's page on vicarious infringement
- Technology wiki on contributory infringement
- Stanford Center for Internet & Society's page discussing a US case on indirect infringement
- Copyright website's discussion of Fonovisa v Cherry Auction
- Academic paper: "The Inducement Theory in Post-Grokster: Arista Records v. Flea World; UMG v. Bertelsmann"
- US lawyer's discussion of indirect infringement
- Wikipedia article on copyright infringement
- US copyright website's page on infringement
- Chinese law review article (in English): "Analysis & Solution for Indirect Infringing Liability of Developers of P2P File Sharing Software"
- US law professors' blog entry on infringement and Grokster
- Article on Internet-based contributory infringement
- Academic paper: "Grokster, BitTorrent, Copyright Infringement, and Inducement: How Modus Operandi Can Provide a Functional Standard for Future File-Sharing Cases"
- Center for Democracy & Technology�s initial Grokster analysis
- Wikipedia article on MGM v Grokster case
- US law firm article: "The Grokster Inducement Test For Secondary Copyright Infringement Liability"
Lex loci delicti
Literally, "the law of the place of the wrongdoing"
The full term is lex loci delicti commissi.
This concept comes up when discussing a tort or crime that takes place in multiple legal jurisdictions. In such a scenario, a court will have to decide which jurisdiction's laws apply. Lex loci delicti refers to the laws that apply in the place where the crime, copyright infringment for our purposes, was actually committed, rather than where the rightsholder lives, or where the right to the work were first received, etc.
A license is a form of contract whereby a rights-holder grants permission to a person or entity to make use of a copyrighted work in some way.
Licenses can be quite specific, granting permission for only one particular kind of use, and for a limited time, or they can be comprehensive. They may be open source, or restrictive. They may or may not be transferable to others. Licenses have always been part of copyright law, but have come to greater prominence recently with their extensive use in conjunction with computer software.
A license that does not refer to any particular copyrighted work, or to specific parties, but is instead presented as an example of the license in general.
The model license can then be modified according to circumstances. For example, Creative Commons, which offers six different types of license, makes model versions of each available.
See Blanket License.
See Compulsory License.
A license granted to an institution, such as a library or school, rather than an individual.
An institutional license’s terms are predicated on the idea that the institution will be serving many different users, under a wide variety of circumstances, and that from a transaction costs perspective, it is far more efficient for all concerned to negotiate terms only once. For example, most, if not all, universities have institutional licensing agreements with the various collective management agencies for the performance of musical works. Many libraries, whether public or academic, have institutional subscriptions to commercial or academic databases, under which any patron of the library may access the database without having to negotiate personal access.
An individual license is a license granted to a single person.
Individual licenses can be negotiated for any sort of copyrighted work, but are probably most often seen in the software context, where before using purchased software, a user must agree to the licensing terms.
(non) Exclusive License
An exclusive license is one granted to the holder only.
If a license is exclusive, it means that no other similar license will be granted. For example, a rights-holder in the United States might grant an exclusive license to someone in Germany to be the sole distributor of the copyrighted work in Germany, or vice versa. A non-exclusive license is just the opposite. A person with such a license knows that many others may have been granted the exact same rights. For example, when a person purchases software, he knows that he is not the only one who has eben granted permission to use that software.
- Legal information website's page on licenses
- Creative Commons' licenses page
- Wikipedia meta-page on copyright licenses
- US Government's publication on licenses
- US lawyer discusses the right to transfer copyright licenses
- Technology blog's discussion of licensing controversy
- Wikipedia page on compulsory licenses
- US Government's circular on compulsory licensing for phonorecords
- Blog devoted to compulsory licenses
- Video with US lawyer explaining compulsory licenses
- An example of institutional license agreement
- University of Connecticut Libraries' webpage on licenses
- EFF white paper on voluntary collective licensing
- EFF page on P2P filesharing and licensing
- Music blog's discussions of licensing in music
- Computer sciences blog page on software licenses
Material breach (of a contract)
A violation of a contract serious enough that the person harmed may compel performance and collect damages, and/or terminate the contract.
A contract is fundamentally a list of terms to which the parties have agreed – things each party has agreed to do or not do. However, no contract, no matter how complex or carefully written, can foresee every possible eventuality. Therefore, it will sometimes happen that a party to a contract will violate one or more of the contract’s terms. Sometimes the breach will be deliberate, sometimes accidental, sometimes driven by circumstance. The question that arises, in the case of a breach, is what will be done about the violation.
Typically, minor violations of a contract mean only that the person harmed by the violation can collect only actual damages. If the breach is sufficiently immaterial these damages may well be zero.
However, substantial violations, which are also known as material breaches, are a different story. They are material breaches because the breached clauses fundamentally matter to the contract. Such breaches typically mean that the injured party can legally compel performance of the contract in addition to collecting damages. Of course, a particular contract may contain specific provisions for what will happen in the case of a material breach.
- Wikipedia article on breach of contract
- Construction industry website's page on material breach
- Chicago law firm's discussion of Illinois court's material breach ruling
- Lawyer.com's definition of material breach
A monopoly is exclusive control over a particular resource.
A copyright in a particular work can usefully be conceived of as a monopoly over that work and its uses, albeit for a limited time.
Economic theory typically sees most monopolies as inefficient uses of resources. These inefficiencies are harm to the public good. This harm is justified in copyright law by claiming that the incentives a monopoly provides to would-be creators balance it out. However, this view of things is being challenged more and more in recent years by critics who feel that copyright terms are too long, or that creators have motivations other than monetary reward.
- "Against Monopolies" page on copyright's 'Catch-22'
- Law review article "The Purpose of Copyright"
- Article discussing economists' criticism of copyright monopolies
- Article: "Mocking the Monopoly of Copyright"
- Google Books excerpt: The Economics of copyright – Wendy Gordon &Richard Watt
- Academic article: "Natural Monopolies in Antitrust, Patent, and Copyright Law: The Essential Facilities, Reverse Doctrine of Equivalents, and Originality Doctrines as Triggers for a Compulsory Licensing Remedy"
Broadly speaking, the set of rights in a work that give control over the existence or fate of a work, rather than over its economic exploitation.
Moral rights (a translation of the French concept “droit moral”) in a creative work are the corollary to the economic rights. They represent the rights in a work that are inherent in its status as a creative work and in its relationship with its creator. While they are statutorily reinforced, they typically are thought of as existing on their own. That is, they are much closer to being “natural” rights. Perhaps because of the nature of the rights, they are more often associated with visual works, such as painting or sculpture, than with “informational” works, such as texts.
The Berne Convention explicitly recognizes moral rights, but U.S. law does not officially recognize moral rights, which is an ongoing source of tension between U.S. law and that of other Berne Convention members. The U.S, maintains that its laws have sufficient provisions in place, such as the Visual Artists Rights Act, to accommodate moral rights.
Article 6bis (1) of the Berne convention reads:
“ (1) Independently of the author's economic rights, and even after the transfer of the said rights, the author shall have the right to claim authorship of the work and to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, the said work, which would be prejudicial to his honor or reputation.”
The enumeration of moral rights varies from country to country, but they are most often listed as:
- The right of paternity -- to claim authorship (or disclaim it, in the event of unauthorized change).
- The right of integrity -- to approve of or object to any modification, distortion or change to the work.
- The right of withdrawal -- to remove a work from the public sphere at will.
- The right of release -- the right to control when a work is seen by the public.
- Berkman Center webpage "Moral Rights Basics"
- Wikpedia page on Moral Rights
- Essay; "Moral Rights of Authors in the USA"
- US Government document "Waiver of Moral Rights in Visual Artworks"
- PDF "Artists Guide to the Visual Artists Rights Act: understanding your (limited) rights"
- US law review article: "Against Moral Rights"
- Essay: Moral Rights and the electronic library"
- MP3 file "The Five Exclusive Rights and Moral Rights"
- Academic paper: "Authorship and the Debate on Moral Rights in the Digital Environment"
- Australian law review article: "Berne, Baby, Berne: The Berne Convention, Moral Rights and Indigenous Peoples’ Cultural Rights"
- Legal column: "Moral Rights for Authors and Artists "
- Large list of links to resources on Moral Rights
The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs
The Center was founded in 1991 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne.
According to its website, “The Mortenson Center and the Mortenson Distinguished Professorship seek to strengthen international ties among libraries and librarians, regardless of geographic location or access to technology.”
Individuals at the Mortenson Center participated in the initial testing of this curriculum.
The rights of people who have participated in the creation of a copyrighted work, but who did not “write” it, and for a variety of reasons do not normally qualify for traditional forms of copyright.
Neighboring rights are copyrights that exist adjacent to more traditional author’s copyrights, and are granted to a few specific categories of person. The term most often refers to. Examples might include the sound engineers at a recording studio, the performers of a musical composition, or a broadcast organization.
Neighboring rights as such do not exist in all copyright law systems. Some jurisdictions subsume them within “copyright” in general without treating them as any different.
As just one example, the Rome Convention explicitly addresses the rights of performers and producers of sound recordings.
- PDF of 1999 Tanzanian Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act
- European Space agency's page on copyright and neighboring rights
- Wikipedia article on "related rights"
- 1996 article "WIPO: Copyright, Neighboring Rights in the Digital Age"
- IFL document "Limitations and Exceptions to Copyright and Neighbouring Rights in the Digital Environment: An International Library Perspective
- CCAAA statement on copyright and neighboring rights at the 13th session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, WIPO, Geneva, 21st-23rd November 2005
- UNESCO: "Basic Notions About Copyright And Neighbouring Rights"
Open access is a term describing an information resource that is open to all.
It also refers to a movement within the academic community dedicated to making scholarly research more accessible, rather than hidden behind a price or permission barriers.
“Open access” journals are not necessarily free, since they may charge a fee for maintenance costs, or to compensate authors, but typically an open access resource is free to all to read and use. Journals that ask for some payment are sometimes called “hybrid” access journals.
Harvard University recently adopted a policy where all of its faculty are permitted and encouraged to make their research available as open access. The U.S. National Institutes of Health has an open access policy requiring all research conducted with public funding to make its results open access, at least after a short interval of exclusivity.
- A directory of open access journals
- BioMed Central, publisher of 198 peer-reviewed open access journals
- Professor Peter Suber's Open Access overview
- Website of the Public Library of Science
- The Budapest Open Access Initiative
- Webpage of Open Society Institute
- Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition's open access page
- Wikipedia Article on Open Access
- Website for Open Access Publishing in European Networks
- Article about Harvard university adopting open access policy
- MP3 of RadioBerkman interview with Peter Suber
- Discussion of proposed US law limiting open access to research
- US National Institutes of Health Open Access homepage
- video of Professor Peter Suber's presentation "What Can Universities Do to Promote Open Access?"
When a person must choose to do something, rather than it happening automatically.
Opt-in describes the default state any situation in which a user or participant has a choice of whether to do something or not, and where the default state is “not”. That is, a person must explicitly and consciously choose to take part. If no action is taken, the person will not participate, agree to terms, etc.
When a person must choose to not do something, otherwise it will happen automatically.
Opt-in describes the default state in any situation in which a user or participant has a choice of whether to do something or not, and the default state prior to any user involvement or active decision is “doing it”.
That is, unless the user consciously and deliberately decides to not agree, or participate, and chooses "no", the assumption going forward is that he or she agrees to the conditions proposed.
Original expression refers to a creator’s original, copyrightable, creative work.
This is in contrast to any later derivative works, other later work that in some way incorporates the original work, or work that isn’t original at all. Expression that is not original cannot qualify for copyright.
- Sri Lankan academic article: "A right to original expression: the role of copyright law in modern industry"
Orphan works are creative works that are still under copyright protection, but for which it is either impossible or prohibitively difficult to identify the copyright holder.
This is most often a problem with photographs on the Internet, but arises with other types of works as well. Since the works are under copyright, permission is need to use them, but since the rights-holder cannot be found, no permission can be obtained. This puts these works into a sort of limbo. People want to make use of them, but usually won’t for fear of liability, and the works cannot pass into the public domain until the term of their copyright expires.
The settlement with the Author’s Guild in the Google Book Search lawsuit contains controversial provisions for orphan works, although it does not refer to them by that term. These terms are the subject of much debate and opposition worldwide.
Orphan works legislation has also been proposed at several different times in the U.S. Congress.
- US Register of Copyright's article: "The Importance of Orphan Works Legislation"
- US Register of Copyright's statement to US Congress on orphan works
- technology magazine article "‘Orphan Works’ Copyright Law Dies Quiet Death"
- LibraryLaw blog post: "Google Book Settlement, orphan works, and foreign works"
- News article "Google pushes for new law on orphan books"
- Article "Copyright law prevents access to millions of 'orphan works'"
- US law review article: "Recent Developments in US Copyright Law: Part I - 'Orphan' Works"
- "Orphan Works Analysis and Proposal" from the Center for the Study of the Public Domain. Duke Law School
- Lawrence Lessig op-ed piece on orphan works
- Metadata Image Library Exploitation website's page on orphan works (EU)
- CEPIC report: "The Situation of Orphan Works In Europe"
- Digital Libraries Expert Group's "Report on Digital Preservation, Orphan Works, and Out-of-Print Works. Selected Implementation Issues
- Wikipedia article on Orphan works
"Notice and Takedown”
“Notice and takedown” refers to the particular sort of cease and desist letter associated with the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
An Internet entity ( such as YouTube), upon receiving notice that it is hosting or otherwise making available a copyrighted work, can avoid liability for infringement by immediately taking down the copy of the work in question.
These notices are often criticized because their process strongly preferences rightsholders, who can effectively shut down any and all uses of their work, whether fair, permissible or not, since most posters will not bother to challenge a takedown notice with a counternotice.
The response to a DMCA takedown notice.
A counternotice is the action taken by the person who originally posted the work that was taken down under a DMCA Section 512 “notice and takedown”. If the poster believes that the work was used legitimately, they can inform the host, who then are required to put it back up, and notify the alleged rightsholder that the copyright has been challenged.
The process for challenging takedowns with a counterntice is much more time-consuming and lengthy than that for a takedown itself, leading some to criticize the system as unfairly favoring alleged rights-holders, creating a legal avenue for private censorship of speech, and confronting Internet hosting sites with skewed incentives.
When a website that took content down in response to a DMCA takedown notice puts it back up after receiving a counternotice.
“Putback” refers to when an Internet content host, such as YouTube, having received a “notice and takedown” and then a “counternotice”, puts the possibly infringing content back online, pending a review of its copyright status.
- Chilling Effects FAQ on notice and takedown
- US lawyer's article on DMCA notice and takedown
- Digital Law Online: "Notice-and-Takedown Procedures"
- Academic paper: "A Reverse Notice and Takedown Regime To Enable Fair Uses of Technically Protected Copyrighted Works (with J. Reichman & P. Samuelson)"
- Creative Commons page on DMCA notice and takedown
- Wikipedia page on Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act
- US Government report on DMCA
- Text of DMCA Section 512
- Chilling Effects FAQ on counternotices
- PDF of a counternotice
- A "do it yourself" counternotice letter
- Chilling Effects example of a counternotice
- YouTube's help page on counternotices
- Chilling Effects FAQ about putback procedures
- Legal advice website's "Writing a DMCA Counter-Reply Put Back Notice"
- Marketing website's page "What To Do When Google Bans Your Site Because Of A Bogus DMCA Take-Down Notice"
- PDf of Bowdoin College's DMCA procedures
- Academic paper: "Efficient Process or “Chilling Effects”? Takedown Notices Under Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act"
Making it possible for others to simultaneously experience a copyrighted work.
The right to perform a work publicly is one of the basic rights granted to a copyright holder. Public performance covers a wide range of activity, and the law addressing this tends to be quite complex and fact specific. Putting on a play, reading a book aloud to an audience, or playing a music recording at a club are all public performances.
The limits of the ability or right of a rightsholder to control public performances can under scrutiny in 2009 when, among other incidents, a representative of ASCAP, the American Society for Composers, Artists and Performers asserted his belief that ASCAP should be able to charge licensing fees for cell-phone ring-tones, since whenever the phone rang it was a “public performance” of the underlying musical work. Critics accused ASCAP of merely trying to get a piece of the lucrative ringtone market.
In another controversial episode, The Authors Guild of America asserted that the text-to-speech function of the Amazon Kindle e-book reader constituted a public performance when it was activated, since the book was “read” aloud. Although Amazon asserted that the text-to-speech function was completely legal, it nevertheless acquiesced to authors’ demands by making the function work on a title by title basis. Some publishers immediately chose to disable that function for their e-books. Both Amazon’s actions and those of the publishers drew heavy criticism from disabled persons’ rights groups.
- Technology blog article on ringtone controversy
- Another technology blog article on ringtone controversy
- EFF article on ringtone controversy
- ASCAP's page on its mission
- Legal website's article "ASCAP Sues Over Ringtone 'Performance'"
- EFF legal analysis on ringtone controversy
- News article "Book publishers object to Kindle's text-to-voice feature"
- News article on Kindle Text-to-speech controversy
- Technology blog article "Random House shuts down Kindle text-to-speech for their titles"
- Technology news article "Disability groups demand full return of Kindle's text-to-speech"
- Wall Street Journal article "New Kindle Audio Feature Causes a Stir"
Broadly, any infringement of copyright by copying, or copyright-related theft.
Despite the images it may evoke of ocean-going bearded villains with swords, when it comes to copyright law, piracy is a catch-all term, used to describe many different sorts of copyright infringement, and all types of illegal copying.
Some analysts have pointed to and criticized a semantic trend from using piracy to describe only large-scale copying for commercial gain to using, to describe any unauthorized of copying.
But, the fact remains that common usage uses the term piracy to describe not only organizations making hundreds of thousands of counterfeit DVDs, but also to describe peer-to-peer file sharing and at-home, individual personal copying, which may or may not be fair use, depending on who is doing the analysis.
The content industry sees illegal copying as a very serious threat, which may account for their routine usage of such a loaded word, perhaps in an attempt to impute the traits of the very worst sorts of copying to all of it.
- Chilling Effects page on piracy
- Chilling Effects FAQ on piracy
- US Register of Copyright's statement to Congress on piracy
- Article: "Copyright Industries Warn Against Piracy Threat"
- Academic paper: "Four Common Misconceptions About Copyright Piracy"
- Google Book: The Politics of Piracy: Intellectual property in contemporary China by Andrew Mertha
- Anti-piracy website
- GNU "Words to avoid" entry on piracy
- News article about "iPhone App Piracy"
- Article: "Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution"
The use of another’s work without citation or accreditation, with the intent of passing it off as one’s own.
Plagiarism is a type of copying, but is not necessarily copyright infringement. Therefore, it would be possible to have a situation in which use of someone else’s work was not a copyright infringement (the use was fair, the work was in the public domain, the user had permission) but was still plagiarism, because the user did not acknowledge the true author of the work in question. Although such a use would be legal, it would be unethical.
Copying and giving appropriate credit is not plagiarism, but could still be copyright infringement.
- Legal information website's article: "Copyright and Plagiarism: What's the Difference?"
- List of resources on plagiarism and copyright
- PLagiarismChecker.com article: "Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement: Is Copying Illegal?"
- Discussion of plagiarism vs copyright
- Plagiarism Today article "Copyright Infringement, Plagiarism and Fair Use"
- "Plagiarism: Curricular Materials for History Instructors"
- EU Copyright.org article "Plagiarism Judo - a clever remedy?"
The great mass of creative work to which no one holds copyright. The world’s common cultural resources and heritage.
In copyright law, the public domain can be thought of as those creative works to which everyone has access, and over which no one has exclusive control. Some works in the public domain were created prior to any formal legal system of copyright. Some works in the public domain were once under copyright, but the term of those copyrights has expired, allowing the work to pass into the public domain. The length of time before a work passes into the public domain depends on when a work was created, and the copyright regime in place at the time.
The public domain has been an issue in several recent copyright controversies, including the Google Book Search settlement and a German man who was uploading photographs of public domain artworks to Wikipedia
A creator can, if he or she wants to, choose to waive the copyright in his or her work by deliberately dedicating it to the public domain. Once this is done, the creator can no longer claim the privileges conferred by copyright, and any member of the public may make use of the work.
- "Is it protected by copyright?" -interactive tool for US law
- Website for the book The Public Domain – Enclosing the Commons of the Mind by James Boyle
- US Copyright office statement on public domain works
- Website for The Center for the Study of the Public Domain
- Stanford University Library system's page on Copyright and the Public Domain
- Stanford University Libraries "Welcome to the Public Domain"
- Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States
- A chart for determining when a work is in the public domain
- Creative Commons webpage "Copyright-Only Dedication* (based on United States law) or Public Domain Certification"
- Google Blog "Preserving public domain books"
- Creative Commons page about identifying works already in the public domain
- Librivox web page "Copyright, Public Domain & LibriVox"
- EFF legal analysis "EFF Defends Wikipedian's Right to the Public Domain"
- ChoralWiki, home of the Choral Public Domain Library
- Wikipedia article on public domain
Public Performance or Display
A copyrighted work is publicly displayed if the public has access to it.
The right to publicly display or perform a creative work is one of the fundamental rights granted to a copyright holder. A work is publicly displayed or performed if the public can view it. Whether the public has to pay is not an issue.
U.S. Copyright Act, Section 101 states:
“To perform or display a work “publicly” means (1) to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered; or (2) to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display of the work to a place specified by clause (1) or to the public, by means of any device or process, whether the members of the public capable of receiving the performance or display receive it in the same place or in separate places and at the same time or at different times.
So, a painting on the wall of someone’s home is not publicly displayed, but a painting on the wall of City Hall is. When the work in question is an outdoor artwork, or a building, things can become difficult to determine. There is also the question of whether a search engine is publicly displaying works when it shows thumbnail images.
- BitLaw entry on "public display"
- Law review article: "The public display right: the Copyright Act's neglected solution to the controversy over RAM 'copes'"
- Article: "New Directions in Cyberspace Law"
- QuizLaw: "What is the right of public display?"
- PDF of US Congressional Research Service report "Internet Search Engines: Copyright’s “Fair Use” in Reproduction and Public Display Rights"
- IT Law wiki entry on "public display"
Formally obtaining copyright protections for a creative work by notifying the copyright office that it exists.
In U.S. copyright law, although a creative work receives copyright at the moment it is fixed in a tangible form, a copyright holder cannot file suit against an alleged infringer without officially registering the work with the copyright office.
The Berne Convention does not require registration, or any other official formalities.
- US Government's copyright website page on registration
- US Government's copyright website online registration system
- US Government's copyright website forms for off-line registration
- Wikipedia article on copyright registration
- Article on registration tool for user-generated content. (blogging, podcasting, etc.)
What a court grants a rightsholder who has won an infringement lawsuit.
When a copyright lawsuit is resolved in favor of the rightsholder, a court will then grant them relief -- relief from the harm which they have suffered as a result of the infringement
Injunctive relief occurs when a court issues an injunction or a restraining order against an infringer.
The injunction might order that infringing content be removed from display, or that extant illegal copies be collected and destroyed, or whatever measures the court finds appropriate.
Statutory relief is relief according whatever provisions for relief exist explicitly in statute.
These could include damage awards, criminal punishment or more.
Religious Legal System
A religious legal system is one where the law is based on the tenets of a particular religion.
Some religious legal systems exist on their own, while some exist in conjunction with another legal system. Sharia, the system of religiously inspired Islamic law, is an example of a religious legal system, as are Hindu law and Halakha or Jewish law.
- Academic paper "Religious Legal Systems: A Brief Guide to Research and Its Role in Comparative Law"
- Wikipedia article on Religious law
- Google book: Religion,law and tradition By Andrew Huxley
The rights a creator, copyright holder, the public or member of the public has as a result of copyright.
Copyright grants its holder various exclusive rights as part of its limited time monopoly. These rights can be usefully divided into economic rights and moral rights. In addition, as part of the copyright “bargain” the public gains certain rights in a copyrighted work as well. A list of these rights follows.
Right of Integrity
The right to prevent the destruction or defacement of a creative work, or to object to any changes made to a creative work
Most often seen in the context of a painting or sculpture. For example, the rights to a piece of art on display.
Right of Attribution
The right to be known as the creator of a particular creative work, to be given appropriate credit for one’s creations, and not to be blamed for things one did not create.
Right of Disclosure
The right to determine when and if a work shall be made public.
Right of Reproduction
The right to make copies of a work.
Right of Adaptation
The right to make derivative works.
Right of Distribution
The right to sell, export or import a work or copies of a work.
Right of Public Performance and Display
The right to perform or display a work in public.
Right of Withdrawal
The right to withdraw a work from the public sphere.
Most commonly seen with artworks of which only a single copy exists but also sometimes seen as a right to purchase extant copies of a creative work at a reduced rate. For example, a book a writer no longer wants on the market.
Right of Access
The right of the public to have access to a published copyrighted work.
This particular right is actually not a right of the copyright holder, but rather of the public. In return for granting the creator the various copyrights, arguably at the expense of the public, the public gains access to the work.
- Law review article: "Copyright in the EU and U.S.: What 'Access-Right'?
- Reuters article: "Right of Access in Germany Affects Only Serious Breaches of Copyright"
- Working paper: "Access-Right: An Inquiry into the Problem of Digital Copyright Law "
- IP Watch article: "EU Stakeholders Debate Copyright, Access And Artists In Digital Age "
- Book chapter: "Copyright Dilemma: Access Right as a Postmodern Symbol of Copyright Deconstruction?"
- Academic paper: "Intellectual property rights vs. public access rights: ethical aspects of the DeCSS decryption program"
- Academic paper: "Copyright and Access to Knowledge in a Human Rights Framework"
- Stanford Center for Internet & Society article: "Access-Right and Copyright Presentation"
- Google Book: The nature of copyright by Lyman Ray Patterson & Stanley W. Lindberg
The Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations
The Rome Convention is an international copyright agreement specifically addressing the rights of three groups. These groups are: performers, the producers of sound recordings, and the broadcasters of broadcasts, all of whom receive protection for their efforts, especially against acts to which they have not consented, like being recorded. First done in 1961, the convention attempts to offer specific protection for creative work that might otherwise not qualify for copyright, usually because of its transitory nature.
- WIPO's text of convention
- WIPO's Rome convention page
- WIPO Summary of Rome Convention
- Web encyclopedia entry on Rome convention
- UNESCO resources on Rome Convention
- WIPO page re: Rome convention for Guatemala
- WIPO page regarding convention for Lithuania
- PDF of 2005 Intergovernmental committee meeting on Rome Convention
- News article about Rome Convention's force in Latvia
- Wikipedia article on Rome Convention
A clearly defined set of circumstances or actions with respect to a particular law that shield the actor from liability.
A law with safe harbors says “These things will make you liable, but if you do “this”, then you are guaranteed to be safe". Safe harbors play an important role in areas of the law that are primarily governed by guidelines (which ultimately need to be interpreted by a court) , rather than rules. Since many people may lack the resources or legal sophistication to know or find out if their behavior is legal, a safe harbor provides certainty.
In the context of copyright law, although it is also used as a generic term for the limits of “safe” activity”, safe harbors are most often encountered with respect to Section 512 of the United States’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act, “Limitations on liability relating to material online”, which describes various ways in which Internet content providers can ensure that they will avoid liability for the behavior of their users and patrons. The most important of these is the “notice and takedown” proceeding.
Note: “Safe harbor” may also refer to a U.S. – EU agreement regarding the safety and privacy of personal data and databases.
- A Chilling Effects page on the DMCA's Section 512
- Another Chilling Effects page on the DMCA and Section 512
- Chilling Effects FAQ on DMCA Section 512
- News article "Google YouTube copyright 'safe harbor' marriage"
- Technology website article: "Judge: transcoding doesn't block Veoh "safe harbor" defense"
- Copywrtie.org article "Digital Millennium Copyright Act section 512 safe harbor basics"
- Technology website article: "A decade of the DMCA: keep the Safe Harbor, ditch the rest"
- Stanford Center for Internet and Society article: "DMCA Safe Harbor for Service Providers Also Protects Non-Storage Activities Designed to Facilitate Access to User-Stored Content "
- Technology website article: "RIAA shifts legal battle to a new front, sues Usenet access provider"
- U.S. – EU Safe Harbour resources Wikipedia article on "Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act"
- Export.gov: "Safe Harbor Overview"
- International Trade Administration Electronic Commerce Taskforce's safe harbor documents
- Export.gov's safe harbor page
- News article: "U.S. companies not complying with E.U. Safe Harbor rules."
- Wikipedia article: "International Safe Harbor Privacy Principles"
- EU-US Safe Harbor datasheet
- US Department of Commerce list of safe harbor countries
- Presentation: "The US Safe Harbor - Fact or Fiction? (2008)"
- Wikipedia article: "Data Protection Directive"
An exemption to copyright law protections explicitly written into statute.
While a particular behavior might be infringing under the general description of copyright, it is specifically exempted, usually for public policy reasons. For example, copying books without the express permission of the rights-holder is a violation of copyright. However, making copies expressly for the purpose of providing the disabled with access to the book is exempted by statute. Therefore, such behavior is not infringing.
Other statutory exemptions include copying for certain academic uses, especially instructional activities, copying for archival purposes or to deal with broken or obsolete technology, distance education, and more.
The Berne Convention places some limits on what statutory exemptions a country can have in its national legislation with its three-step test, saying “"[i]t shall be a matter for legislation in the countries of the Union to permit the reproduction of such [literary and artistic] works in certain special cases, provided that such reproduction does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author".
- US regulation 37 CFR 201: "Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies" final rule
- PDF of New Media Right's comments in response to the Notice of Inquiry of Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies
- Medical Library Association's comments on notice provisions and the Berne Convention
- Academic paper: "International Copyright Summaries To Accompany: "Copyright Law & Graduate Research""
- PDF: Music Publishers Association of Hong Kong Submission in Response to Consultation Document Review of Certain Provisions of Hong Kong Copyright Ordinance 1997
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a law that limits how long a person can wait to bring a legal action after a law is broken.
When the time limit specified by the statute of limitations has run out, or “tolled”, any future legal action is said to be "barred". For example, if the statute of limitations for a particular crime is 10 years, it is generally not possible to prosecute for that crime twelve years after it took place.
With respect to copyright law, the statute of limitations will describe how long after an act of infringement a rights-holder can wait to bring a suit. It will also limit the number of infringing acts for which the rights holder may seek damages. The length of the time limit varies between jurisdictions, and the exact nature of the limits varies as well.
For instance, in the United States, there is a three year statute of limitations for copyright violations, although this is a generic limit, not specific to copyright. This three year clock begins on the date of the most recent infringing act. However, some courts treat this as a “rolling” three years, meaning that a rights holder can only seek damages for acts within the three years prior to bringing suit. Other courts have held that even if the infringing began more than three years prior to the suit, if the infringement was ongoing, and at least one act was within the last three years, the rights holder may seek damages for all of the infringing acts.
- Copyright scholar William Patry's blog entry #1 on statute of limitations
- Copyright scholar William Patry's blog entry #2 on statute of limitations
- Copyright scholar William Patry's blog entry on laches statute of limitations
- Copyright scholar William Patry's blog entry on statute of limitations for actions
- Advice webpage answer "From what point in time does the 3-year statute of limitations begin to run?"
- Plagiarism Today article: "Statute of Limitations in Copyright Law"
- Photo Attorney blog post: "Don't Sit On Your Copyright Infringement Claim!"
- Copyright blog post on statute of limitations: "Third Circuit holds discovery rules govern claim accrual under the Copyright Act"
- IP litigation blog post: "Copyright Office Printout Suggesting Registration Sufficient to Maintain Infringement Claim"
“Sweat of the brow”
"Sweat of the brow" refers to the effort put into something, and any value created as a result.
If you work hard at something, you sweat. Some translations of the book of Genesis in the Christian Bible or Jewish Pentateuch have God telling Adam that as part of Adam's punishment, he will have to produce his food by the “sweat of his brow”.
In copyright law, the logic runs as follows: someone who has invested a great deal of time and energy in producing something needs to be protected, otherwise someone else can take it (by copying) and reap all of the benefit with none of the labor.
This is the “labor theory” of property, historically associated with John Locke. However, most copyright regimes do not grant copyright in something simply because it is the result of hard work. There is typically an originality requirement as well. The United States has explicitly rejected the sweat of the brow theory, in the case Feist Publications v Rural Telephone, which dealt with the partial copying of a telephone directory.
That being said, the EU grants protection in factual databases on what is essentially a “sweat of the brow” theory.
- Project Gutenberg article: "Gutenberg: No Sweat of the Brow Copyright"
- IT Law wiki article on: "Sweat of the Brow"
- Statement of David O. Carson General Counsel, United States Copyright Office on Database and Collections of Information Misappropriation Act of 2003"
- Canadian law review article: "Sweat of the Brow, Creativity and Authorship: On Originality in Canadian Copyright Law "
- Law review article: "Doctrine of Sweat of the Brow"
- Law review article: "The Future of Database Protection in U.S. Copyright Law
- Law and Technology website article: "Database protection in the USA"
- PDF of EU Commission's DG Internal Market and Services Working Paper - First evaluation of Directive 96/9/EC on the legal protection of databases"
- Australian blog post: "Databases and Australian Copyright Law"
- US Copyright Office: "Report on Legal Protection for Databases"
- Wikipedia Article on "Sweat of the brow"
- Wikipedia article on Feist v Rural Telephone
The physical form that a copyrighted work may take.
U.S copyright law requires that a creative work be fixed in a “tangible medium” before it qualifies for copyright, in contrast with the law of some other countries, which confer copyright at the moment of conception.
The tangibility requirement has led to some problems with protection for types of works that are not normally “fixed”, such as dance, stand-up comedy, live musical performances, and more. It has also been the subject of much discussion with respect to computers, computer displays and computer memory, in terms of when a program or a program’s output is “fixed” or not. Some of these issues have been addressed with targeted legislation.
- US Code Â§ 102. Subject matter of copyright: In general
- Tangible Medium of Expression: Music Copyright
- Copyright Quizlaw: What is a tangible medium?
A law where the third offense results in more serious penalties.
A “three-strikes” law is a reference to baseball, where it is “three strikes and you are out”. Such laws have stronger penalties following a third infraction. In the copyright context, three strikes laws are copyright enforcement statutes where an Internet user’s Internet access can be summarily cut off after three accusations of copyright infringement.
While strongly supported by the content industry and institutional rights-holders, these laws have come under a great deal of criticism from Internet users, advocacy groups, Internet service providers and libraries for heavily favoring content providers and rights-holders over the public. This is because these laws penalize users based on accusations ( received complaints about a user), not proven infringement, so there is a strong sense of “guilty until proven innocent”. Further the procedures for making an accusation are highly streamlined, whereas the procedures for challenging them are difficult. Such laws have been proposed or passed in France, South Korea, New Zealand and Canada, among others, although some have failed to pass or been struck down.
- Kiwis get strict copyright, three-strikes law at month's end
- French "3 strikes" law returns, now with judicial oversight!
- Three Strikes Law Struck Down In European Parliament
- Australian Goverment Considering 3 Strikes Law
- France Says Canada Considering "Three Strikes and You're Out" ISP Policy
- Campaign to Stop File-Sharers Being “Guilty Upon Accusation”
The Berne Convention’s Three-Step Test describes the criteria by which a participating country can have its own unique limits or statutory exemptions on copyright law without violating the terms of the Convention.
The three steps come originally from Article 9(2) of the Berne Convention, which reads:
“It shall be a matter for legislation in the countries of the Union to permit the reproduction of such works in certain special cases, provided that such reproduction does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author.”
This language can be broken out into the following three steps.
1) The exemptions must be for special cases or types of creative work only;
2) The exemptions allowed must not conflict with the “normal’ exploitation of the work that copyright usually makes possible, and;
3) the exemptions must not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author.
This language has since been exported -- with important modifications -- to a number of other international copyright treaties, including the TRIPS agreement, several WIPO treaties, and the EU Copyright Directive. The wide range of contemporary interpretations of the three-step test is discussed in Module 2: The International Framework.
- Fair Use, the Three-Step Test, and the Counter-Reformation
- Academic article: "The Three-Step Test Frenzy - Why the TRIPS Panel Decision Might be Considered Per Incuriam"
- Academic article: "Toward Supranational Copyright Law? The WTO Panel Decision and the 'Three-Step Test' for Copyright Exceptions"
- Academic article: "Exceptions to Intellectual Property Rights: Lessons from WTO-Trips Panels"
- Academic article: "Towards a New Core International Copyright Norm: The Reverse Three-Step Test"
- Academic article: "Three-step test and Australia: right to remuneration and the concept of sterile copyright"
- Wikipedia: Berne Three Step Test
- Academic article: "Fixing the Three-Step Test"
TPM – Technological Protection Measures
Technological protection measures, or “TPM” are security measures added to digital technology and content by content providers in order to restrict and control access, and exert greater control over the uses of the content they sell.
TPM is a broader term than “DRM", which really refers only to software-encoded protections. TPM is potentially both software and hardware based. Measures could include requiring passwords, filtering software, censor chips in computers, monitoring/ surveillance technology, (semi-)autonomous software tools and more. Regionally coded DVDs and DVD players are one example of a TPM. Other examples are Microsoft’s “Trusted Computing” and the “feature” of Apple’s iTunes that permits users to transfer a song to only five different computers.
While ostensibly aimed only at infringing users, TPM techniques often have negative impact on legitimate users, both with respect to legal uses and to privacy concerns. However, under at least U.S. law, it is illegal both to circumvent any technological protection measure and to possess anything that makes circumvention possible. The potentially sweeping nature of TPMs has led some to argue that TPMs make it possible for a rights-holder to not only enforce their copyright, but to exert control over a work that exceeds the limits of what copyright law permits.
- Technological Protection Measures - the "triple lock"
- Children’s Internet Protection Act
- How do technological protection measures work?
- Technological Protection Measures in the Draft FTAA
- Technological Protection Measures in EC and Italian Copyright Law
- Inquiry into technological protection measures (TPM) exceptions
- Academic article: "Technological Protection Measures: Tilting at the Copyright Windmill"
- Academic article: "How Much Fair Use Do We Need in the “Digital World”?"
- LibTPM: Technological Protection Measures and Research Libraries
Transferability (of rights)
The feature of copyrights that makes it possible for one rightsholder to transfer ownership of the rights to another person.
One of the basic characteristics of property is that it can be transferred to others, whether by sale, gift, or something else. Copyrights are no different. While a creator initially holds copyright in his or her creative work, those rights can be transferred to another person or entity, who can then transfer them again, etc. For example, recording artists frequently transfer the copyright in their songs to a records company. Michael Jackson famously owned the rights to all of the Beatles’ music.
The various rights that “copyright” subsumes can be transferred as a block, but more often are transferred or sold one at a time, some times to different people.
The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
TRIPS is an international agreement on property rights that came into effect in 1995.
The World Trade Organization’s website describes TRIPS as “to date, the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property.” and states that:
“The areas of intellectual property that it covers are: copyright and related rights (i.e. the rights of performers, producers of sound recordings and broadcasting organizations); trademarks including service marks; geographical indications including appellations of origin; industrial designs; patents including the protection of new varieties of plants; the layout-designs of integrated circuits; and undisclosed information including trade secrets and test data.”
The three main features of TRIPS are its sections on standards, enforcement, and dispute settlement. In a way, it is an umbrella agreement, since it requires that its participants agree to and uphold the tenets of several other agreements, treaties and conventions. These are the main conventions of the WIPO, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Convention) and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic in their most recent versions.
- Overview: the TRIPS Agreement
- Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
- Intellectual Property Summary
- Overview of Intellectual Property Rights and the TRIPs Agreement
- HIV/AIDS Intellectual Property Review
- Academic article: "Trips, Intellectual Property Law Reform in Indonesia: Why Injunctions Aren't Stopping Piracy"
- WIPO report: "The effects of TRIPS Mandated Intellectual Property Rights on Economic Activities in Developing Countries
- Academic article: "Trapped by TRIPS? Intellectual property rights, the cold war, and the Cuban embargo revisited"
- IFLA Guide for Libraries and Librarians to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNESCO was founded in 1945. According to its website it “ functions as a laboratory of ideas and a standard-setter to forge universal agreements on emerging ethical issues.
The Universal Copyright Convention of 1952 was adopted under UNESCO’s auspices.
- UNESCO homepage
- UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day
- UNESCO copyright bulletin archives
- Why is UNESCO in copyright?
- UNESCO’s library resources
- UNESCO OER Toolkit/Copyright and Open Content Licensing
- UNESCO’s Copyright Activities and Mongolia
- Copyright Innovation and UNESCO Powerpoint Presentation
- UNESCO / Ghana Copyright Workshop
- UNESCO Copyright and Communication in the Information Society
United Kingdom’s Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)
CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals is the leading professional body for librarians, information specialists and knowledge managers.
According to its website, "CILIP forms a community of around 36,000 people engaged in library and information work, of whom approximately 21,000 are CILIP members and about 15,000 are regular customers of CILIP Enterprises. CILIP speaks out on behalf of the profession to the media, government and decision makers. CILIP provides practical support for members throughout their entire careers, helpingthem with their academic education, professional qualifications, job hunting and continuing professional development.”
Universal Copyright Convention (or UCC)
The UCC, which came into effect in 1955, represents an alternative to the Berne Convention.
It was designed by UNESCO to provide a form of multilateral copyright protection for countries what wanted such a thing, but which disagreed with some or all of the Berne Convention. These countries include the United States and Russia as well as much of Latin America and the former USSR.
Its opening section states:
"The Contracting States, Moved by the desire to ensure in all countries copyright protection of literary, scientific and artistic works, Convinced that a system of copyright protection appropriate to all nations of the world and expressed in a universal convention, additional to, and without impairing international systems already in force, will, ensure respect for the rights of the individual and encourage the development of literature, the sciences and the arts, Persuaded that such a universal copyright system will facilitate a wider dissemination of works of the human mind and increase international under-standing, Have resolved to revise the Universal Copyright Convention as signed at Geneva on 6 September 1952 (hereinafter called `the 1952 Convention')"
All Berne Convention participants are also UCC members. Additionally, the UCC’s Article 17 explicitly states that none of its provisions are intended to conflict with the Berne Convention, making the UCC of limited importance today, since most countries are Berne members.
- UNESCO website's text of Universal Copyright Convention
- UK copyright Serivce fact sheet on Universal Copyright Convention
- Britannica article on Universal Copyright Convention
- Legal information website on Universal Copyright Convention
- Downloadable text of universal Copyright Convention
- PDF of the draft report of the subcommitee of the intergovernmental committee of the Universal Copyright Convention
- Googgle Book excerpt: Intellectual property licensing By Richard Raysman, Edward A. Pisacreta, Kenneth A. Adler, Seth H. Ostrow
- Wikipedia article on Universal Copyright Convention
WIPO is the World Intellectual Property Organization.
According to its website, WIPO "is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system, which rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest. WIPO was established by the WIPO Convention in 1967 with a mandate from its Member States to promote the protection of IP throughout the world through cooperation among states and in collaboration with other international organizations. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. The Director General is Francis Gurry. WIPO administers 24 different treaties, including the WIPO Convention, thirteen of which are intellectual property treaties.
- WIPO homepage
- WIO treaties page
- The page for the WIPO Convention
- PDF with list of "Contracting parties of treaties adminstered by WIPO"
- WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
- WIPO Copyright Treaty adopted by the Diplomatic Conference on December 20, 1996
- Google Book: WIPO guide to intellectual property worldwide -- World Intellectual Property Organization
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT)
A WIPO treaty that came into effect in 2002, explicitly addressing the rights of performers and producers of sound recordings.
WIPO's website states that:
“The Treaty deals with intellectual property rights of two kinds of beneficiaries: (i) performers (actors, singers, musicians, etc.), and (ii) producers of phonograms (the persons or legal entities who or which take the initiative and have the responsibility for the fixation of the sounds).
They are dealt with in the same instrument because most of the rights granted by the Treaty to performers are rights connected with their fixed, purely aural performances (which are the subject matter of phonograms).
As far as performers are concerned, the Treaty grants performers four kinds of economic rights in their performances fixed in phonograms (not in audiovisual fixations, such as motion pictures): (i) the right of reproduction, (ii) the right of distribution, (iii) the right of rental, and (iv) the right of making available."
- Text of WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT)
- Summary of the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) (1996)
- Supplemental UNESCO page on WPPT
- Google Book excerpt:Concise European copyright law By Thomas Dreier, P. B. Hugenholtz
- Wikipedia article on WPPT
WTO – World Trade Organization
The WTO is an organization devoted to the rules of international trade.
According to its website, the WTO's "main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible."
The WTO is responsible for, among other things, the TRIPS agreement, which was the first time and place that copyright issues became a focus of an international trade agreement.
- WTO website
- The WTO in Brief
- TRIPS materials on WTO website
- WTO index of disputes issues
- WTO website: Uraguay Round Agreement: TRIPS Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
- WIRED magazine article: "China Pledges WTO Copyright, Trademark Cooperation"
- China Daily article: "US urged to withdraw WTO copyright complaint"
- New York Times article: "W.T.O. Finds China Copyright Law Lacking"
- ReadWriteWeb article: "Gad-Zookz! WTO to Allow Copyright Infringement?" (Antigua)
- WTO page for Panama: Industrial Property (WTO Copyright), Law (Title VII Art. 286 & 291
- Media release: "WTO Copyright Win a Boom for Australian Musicians"
- European Commission WTO copyright infringement procedure against Japan
- Article: "Toward Supranational Copyright Law? The WTO Panel Decision and the 'Three-Step Test' for Copyright Exceptions"
- Article: "Impact of WTO’s Copyright Protection to Library Operations & Academic Communications"
- Article: "TRIPS into the unknown: Libraries and the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
- Text of US Code of Federal Regulations: Restoration of Certain Berne and WTO Works
- Article: "A Marxist Analysis of the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights"
- The IFLA Position on The World Trade Organization (available in Chinese, French and German
- The IFLA Position on WTO Treaty Negotiations
Work For Hire
A creative work that the creator has made at someone else’s request, usually for pay.
Work for hire is a concept from U.S. copyright law, and exists in a few others as well. For example, if a person commissions a sculpture from an artist, and provides very specific requirements as to materials and appearance, the sculpture will probably be a work for hire, although the ultimate determination is fact specific.
The concept serves to clear up any confusion that might result when an employee creates a copyrightable work in the course of their employment. Under the “works made for hire” doctrine, the employer holds the copyright in such a situation.
It is this doctrine that ensures that, for example, the hundreds of people who work on the production of a motion picture do not have any claim to the copyright.
However, the nature of the employer/employee relationship can be complex and difficult to define, especially when it exists only for the duration of the work’s creation, or the work is created in an educational context.
Further complicating things, since the Berne Convention separately recognizes economic and moral rights, even a creator who has made a work for hire may still possess moral rights in that work.
- PDF of US Copyright Office circular "Works Made for Hire Under the 1976 Copyright Act"
- Text of US copyright law "Chapter 2 - Copyright Ownership and Transfer"
- Article: "Working with freelancers: What every publisher should know about the "work for hire" doctrine."
- A short analysis of Community For Creative Non-Violence v. Reid the seminal U.S. case on the topic
- Music Law.com's page on work for hire
- Legal information site's page on "Works Made for Hire Under the Copyright Act"
- Video: Protecting Your Work: Understanding Publishing, Copyright, and “Work For Hire”"
- Law Review article: "Pre-existing Confusion in Copyright's Work-for-Hire Doctrine"
- The Writing for Children Resource Site article: "The Work-for-hire question"
- EFF article: "Film Schools Teach Wrong Copyright Lesson"
- Academy for Creative Media FAQ on the Student Copyright Agreement
- KeepYourCopyrights.org page on Work for Hire
- Wikipedia article on work for hire