If there is no Â© sign or other copyright notice on or near an image, I don't need permission to use it, do I?
The absence of a copyright notice does not mean that you are free to use an image. Since 1989, copyright notice is nolonger a requirement under the Copyright Act. Even before 1989, the work without notice might have been published without authority or the notice might have been omitted in breach of contract which would not have placed the work in the public domain. Again, the basic assumption has to be that there is a valid copyright.
Is it true that if I mail a copy to myself, I will have all the copyright protection I need?
No. Mailing a copy of a work to yourself does nothing to protect or enhance your copyright. To get the maximum copyright protection, you must register your works at the Copyright Office in Washington as soon as possible after they are created.
If I buy and pay for a print, can't I make copies of it?
No. The Copyright Act makes it absolutely clear that the tangible print or copy of a work is completely separate from the right to use the work, and paying for one does not necessarily mean obtaining the other.
If I alter a work of visual art 20% I can use it, right?
There is no safe % in which you can alter a work and use it without permission.
The Law Overview
Whether you are designing your own homepage for business or pleasure, surfing for fun or researching for school or work or whether you are a webmaster supreme or first time user, the law of copyright will be an important influence on all of these activities. Copyright in the United States is legal protection that is given to literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works created by "authors" and fixed in a tangible medium, whether such works are published or unpublished. Unless the work is a "work made for hire", the "author" for purposes of the Copyright Act is generally the person who creates the work. A person may be called an "author" of a work even though the work created is a photograph, painting, novel, videotape or a sound recording. Authors are the individuals who created the work or can be entities that have received rights from the creator through the "work for hire doctrine."
The Copyright Act of 1976 generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following things with the work: to reproduce it (make copies), to prepare derivative works based on the work (like a movie based on a story), to distribute copies to the public (like selling your photographs), to perform the copyrighted work publicly (like playing recorded music in bars or nightclubs of a certain size), to display the copyrighted work publicly (unveil a statue or sculpture), and with respect to sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission (certain types of webcasting).
Although there is no unique specialized set of copyright laws applicable to the Internet, general copyright principles apply, as do established defenses and limitations on authors' and owners' rights. The "owner" is the owner of the copyright (not necessarily the tangible object embodying the copyright) at any given time. Initially, unless the work is a work for hire, the creator (author) and the owner are the same person because copyright protects any copyrightable work that is fixed in a tangible medium of expression.
Perhaps the most widely invoked defense to copyright infringement is "fair use", which is available in the context of the Internet in appropriate circumstances. Generally speaking for surfers and webmasters, copyright law will require analysis of each element of a web page or web site as if the element were by itself, and then consideration of all of the components together. At the most basic level, web pages frequently contain words (and hypertext), images (including photographs, graphic designs, videos and reproductions of fine art) and music , the creation and use of which are controlled by copyright law. In addition to their web pages, Webcasters must also ensure that their web "radio" broadcasts comply with new guidelines and regulations passed by Congress as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The material provided at this site may be reproduced freely for non-commercial purposes, provided the following acknowledgment is included:
Information obtained from Friends of Active Copyright Education (FAÂ©E), an initiative of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A., at:
Everyone who has photos published in the gallery here on CC should read this.
Or sticky it