Copyright Laws—Everything You Need To Know

Copyright is the legal and executive right of the owner to copy, distribute, perform, or display a work of authorship. It also allows them to transfer that right to someone else.

Understanding the copyright laws and acts can give you the basic idea of how copyright works, how to copyright your content, and how long copyright lasts

Use DoNotPay to learn what copyright claims refer to, as well as what you can expect from DMCA protection or how to file a copyright notice


What Is Covered by Copyright Laws?

It is important to note that, although copyright can be beneficial in terms of potential legal issues, it is not mandatory. Copyright protection begins as soon as the work is created. Keep in mind that copyright infringement can happen even at that point.

To be copyrighted, a work of authorship needs to meet the following requirements:

  1. Fixation—The creation has to exist in a permanent state
  2. Originality—It has to meet the basic levels of originality to be considered creative
  3. Expression—An idea cannot be copyrighted, only the expression of that idea

Here is a list of creative works that copyright law protects:

  • Musical work
  • Literary work
  • Movies and other audiovisual work
  • Sculptures, pictorial, and graphic work
  • Sound recordings
  • Architectural pieces
  • Online writing, such as blogs
  • Pantomimes and choreographic pieces

Copyright does not cover words, symbols, logos, names, sounds, or colors. For these, you can use a trademark. Inventions are also not protected by copyright laws since they fall under the patent category.

DMCA—The Crucial Act of Copyright Law

Officially known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, DMCA is a copyright law passed in 1998, implementing two World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) laws from 1996. 

The DMCA protects the interests of copyright owners, as well as internet users and online service providers.

One of the main DMCA aspects is the takedown notice service. This aspect allows filing copyright notices to take down stolen content from a certain website.

DMCA is a U.S. law, but it can be invoked in cases when:

  • You live in the U.S., but the web host where you found your stolen content is based outside the U.S.
  • You live somewhere else, but the website where you found the stolen content is in the States

The DMCA offers two types of takedown notice services—you can opt for a Full-Service Takedown or a Webmasters DIY Takedown. See what both of these services have to offer in the following table:

Service Features

Full-Service Takedown

  • A form to fill out
  • Easy to use, takes a couple of minutes
  • Full DMCA assistance
  • Costs $199 per site

Webmasters DIY Takedown

  • DIY kit for webmasters and internet professionals
  • Unlimited use
  • Costs $10 per month or $100 per year

The Importance of Fair Use

Fair use serves as protection from copyright infringement. It refers to the use of copyrighted material for limited and reframing purposes without the permission of the original copyright owner. If your use qualifies as fair use, it won’t be considered a copyright infringement. Fair use includes:

  • Parody
  • Criticism
  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Commentary
  • News reporting

The fair use rule is considered to be in a gray area since there’s no strict regulation that defines this category. Four criteria can be used to determine if something qualifies as fair use, but they’re not definitive:

  1. The purpose of the use
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount of used copyrighted material
  4. The value of the new content on the potential market

Copyright Laws Provide a Safe Harbor

The DMCA “safe harbor” provisions protect websites that offer third-party content. They allow online service providers to be excluded from copyright infringement. Certain requirements must be met for a website to be eligible for safe harbor protection:

  • Users select and upload the content to the website
  • The said content is passed on to other users without modification
  • This process has to be automatic, without any interfering from the web host

Without the DMCA Safe Harbor regulation, many of the biggest websites would collapse due to copyright infringement.

Protect Your Work With DoNotPay

If you are a content creator who uses the internet on a regular basis, you may discover that someone has been using your work without your permission. DoNotPay has a great feature that can help you put a stop to that.

There is no need to waste money on copyright attorneys, engage in endless research, and pay for a takedown service. Open DoNotPay in your web browser and file a DMCA notice in mere seconds, following these steps:

  1. Select DMCA Takedown feature after logging in
  2. Write the name of the work in question
  3. Provide URLs of both the original website and the one where you discovered the infringement
  4. Confirm your identity and provided information
  5. Click the Sign and Submit button
  6. Check the My Disputes page to see the results

It is advisable to have proof of ownership, but with DoNotPay, you can file a notice even if you don’t have it!

How To Avoid Copyright Infringement

Fair use can help you avoid copyright infringement in certain cases, but it’s best to take this matter with utmost caution. It is imperative to understand copyright laws and the rights of original content owners, as well as to avoid looking for loopholes.

Here are some tips on how to avoid copyright violations:

  • Seek permission from the owner or their agent to use their work
  • Check and comply with licensing/copyright terms on websites
  • Use quotation marks and reference the author
  • Keep in mind that works of authorships do not need to be registered to be copyrighted
  • Steer clear of using works you find on the internet—they can be copyrighted as well

If you have any doubts about copyrights and what you can and cannot use, it is best to consult with your legal advisor.

Taking Care of Business Is Easy With DoNotPay

Having unpaid bills and unresolved issues hanging over your head can be a drag. Fortunately, DoNotPay has numerous features for coping with administration stress-free!

Check out the current U.S. copyright laws’ policy on the duration of the copyright and fees for registration. Use DoNotPay to fight the infringement on platforms like Google and YouTube and learn what you can do to avoid it.

Access DoNotPay in any web browser to instantly handle otherwise time-consuming problems.

By using our service, you will be able to: