Be Careful!: Avoiding Copyright Laws Can End Your Writing Career!

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Many ideas come through people’s minds, and those who put them into words in an intrinsic way are incredible writers. Writing is one thing, but publishing it for the world to read is another ball game. One of the many obstacles faced is Copyright. 

Copyrights can either make or break it for a writer, and knowing them is essential. Nowadays, because of the internet, it has become safeguarded, but also some factors can hurt the ethical claim on the Copyright. 

Due to the Internet, following the rules not to commit copyright infringement is difficult because there is more accessible access to virtually anything created possible.

Copyright: What is it?

Copyright for Writers | U.S. Copyright Office

Before anything else, first knowing what Copyright is essential. It is an idea or something based on intellect, and the original picture can be protected when the author converts it into an understandable expression. A brief look at Copyright can consist of artwork, music or sound, programming languages, movie scripts, books, etc. 

According to copyright law, the idea owners have various rights to their idea. Their various copyrights are broken down into simple versions to understand them better. They are copying their works, preparing duplicates under the original, and marketing the products made from it.

Presenting the work in any way they want, whether through literature, composition, stop motion picture, etc. Copyright can also grant permission for others to use the idea if the owner so wishes. The users can enjoy the rights with specific limitations subjected by the owner.

Copyright: What Falls Under It?

Copyrights: What Falls Under It?
Copyrights: What Falls Under It? | Image By Lawzik

Under copyright law, it is stated that “A person cannot copyright an idea, but the physical medium in which it is expressed can be copyrighted.”

Whether published or not, literature consists of books, poems, scripts, and computer programming languages. Songs, musical composition, lyrics accompanying the melody, chords, etc., come under Music works. 

Dramas include:

  • The person who originally wrote the dialogues.
  • The direction of the acting.
  • The music/song accompanies the act. 

Choreography comes under Copyright, which includes the music composition, dance movements, and miming, which are also part of the choreography. Pictures can consist of both graphic and handmade artwork. Motion pictures, also known as audiovisual works, can include tv series, music videos, lyric videos, movies, films, etc. 

Good works don’t exactly come under music because of the different rhythms. Architectural ideas can also be copyrighted due to the particular design it has. The blueprints of the work, whether rough or official, is also considered under this.  

One more thing to note is that Copyright doesn’t exactly consider a short version of the idea like names, phrases, or recipes. These can be regarded as trademarks or patents. 

What Cannot Be Protected By Copyright?

Works that don’t correctly represent the idea cannot be covered under Copyright. Names, phrases, or recipes do not fall under Copyright. To add more to this, symbols and simple variations of the designs, whether the color of text, can also not come under Copyright.

This variation can also include:

  • Direct branched meanings of the original description
  • Illustrations like the procedures, systems, concepts, or devices.
  • The works known worldwide and used daily with no actual ownership can include white pages, calendars, charts, measuring tools, etc.

Noting that Copyright can expire, this will also not come under copyright protection.

Copyright: Violation Penalties

What are the Penalties for Copyright Infringement | Attorney Thoughts

If copyrights are violated, there will be different penalties according to the severity and what has been done. This includes civil and criminal penalties. But how does one get to know that they violated Copyright?

One can know if the holder has a valid copyright, the person who is reportedly infringing has access to the particular work, and last, replication of the work must be outside what consists of Copyright.

 Violation Penalty  
Copyright Infringement  $750-$30,000  
Intentional copyright infringement $150,000  

Additional charges include paying for the courts, receiving a court warning, and seizing the duplicated work. Imprisonment can be up to 5 years, depending on the severity of the crime. 

A point to note is that copyright infringement and plagiarism are two different things. Copyright is a kind of law that protects the original works from being without the author’s exclusive permission unless the exceptions apply. 

But plagiarism is claiming the work to be one’s own when it’s not, and there is no federal law for this like Copyright, but it still has its repercussions if done.

What Do We Conclude?

According to statistics, in the year 2020, there have been 21,882 applications for copyright registrations. For more recent data, from December 2021 to January 2022, there have been 4,402 registrations for Copyright. 

Since it is the only start of the year, the statistics are low, and there is no doubt that more new works will be produced. 

This article contains details on what a copyright is, what it consists of, and doesn’t protect. While also covering the various ways one can violate Copyright, excluding its exceptions and the penalties given to such parties for this kind of violation. 

Keeping these in mind and taking cautions regarding Copyright, one can easily sidestep committing violations.   

Copyright is successful in helping find a solution to a problem while also taking in the interests of many different categories of people and making it fair for all the parties involved. 

One way is when the works that people are copying are legally available for electronic delivery. This one solution amongst many is much easier than creating more complex solutions that will involve severe changes between the creators, consumers, marketing team, and the other parties applied.

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