10 Big Myths about copyright explained

For what it's worth, I have an 'action' in Photoshop that adds copyright information as copyright b12 Partners, LLC, and the copyright status as “Copyrighted Work” to every photo I run it on (usually before uploading to my site or to Flickr). Who knows if this has ever stopped anyone from using my photos (periodically I glance at my site traffic logs, and there are a lot of hits from Google Images), but there it is. Apparently, everything is explicitly copyrighted unless otherwise marked. Maybe I'll add a year though.

10 Big Myths about copyright explained:
1. “If it doesn't have a copyright notice, it's not

This was true in the past, but today almost all major nations follow the Berne copyright convention. For example, in the USA, almost everything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989 is copyrighted and protected whether it has a notice or not. The default you should assume for other people's works is that they are copyrighted and may not be copied unless you know otherwise. There are some old works that lost protection without notice, but frankly you should not risk it unless you know for sure.
It is true that a notice strengthens the protection, by warning people, and by allowing one to get more and different damages, but it is not necessary. If it looks copyrighted, you should assume it is. This applies to pictures, too. You may not scan pictures from magazines and post them to the net, and if you come upon something unknown, you shouldn't post that either.
The correct form for a notice is:

“Copyright [dates] by [author/owner]”
You can use C in a circle © instead of “Copyright” but “(C)” has never been given legal force. The phrase “All Rights Reserved” used to be required in some nations but is now not legally needed most places. In some countries it may help preserve some of the “moral rights.”

All of our business communication also has this message appended to the bottom:

The information contained herein is strictly proprietary and confidential and is intended solely for your exclusive use.

By accepting these materials, the recipient agrees to hold and treat the material contained herein in the strictest of confidence. Any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, copying or the taking of any action in reliance on the contents of the information contained herein is prohibited without the prior written consent of [our company]

My site (and my Flickr photos) are licensed under Creative Commons, because I'm not really concerned about theft, I just want to know what gets used and why. A while ago, a videographer asked if he could use some of my Haymarket photos for a documentary he was working on. I said sure, just give me a copy of the finished work in some form. He agreed.

{, , }

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on June 16, 2005 6:49 PM.

Sony Hates the iPod was the previous entry in this blog.

The Ukukus Wonder Why a Sacred Glacier Melts in Peru's Andes is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.37