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Monday, June 3, 2013

Copyright Myths Debunked by...Costco?

I love Costco - who doesn't, right?  Not only can I pick up 25 rolls of paper towels and all the blueberries I cannot possibly finish in a week while they are still fresh, but I can also learn about copyright law.  What, you say?  At Costco?  Yep.  Keep reading.
The April 2013 edition of The Costco Connection had a great article called "The Copyright Quandry - What are the Rules When Posting to Social Media?"  Even more interesting is the sidebar article by Lloyd J. Jassin (a copyright lawyer in New York), called "Copyright Myths."  You can read the article here
So, what can we learn from Costco about copyrights and social media?   
  1. Myth - If I give credit I don't need permission.  Fact - Giving credit is not a substitute for getting permission to use someone's copyright material. 
  2. Myth - The work I want to use does not include a copyright notice, so I don't need permission. Fact - Just because a work contains no copyright notice, that does not mean it isn't copyrighted.
  3. Myth - I'm using the work for nonprofit purposes, so I'm exempt from copyright laws.  Fact - Non-profit users are not immune from copyright infringement lawsuits.
  4. Myth - I don't need permission because I'm going to adapt the work.  Fact - Adapting the work for your own use without permission may still violate the owner's copyright.
  5. Myth - The material I want to use was posted anonymously so it's in the public domain.  Fact - The Copyright Act protects anonymous and pseudonymous work. 
  6. Myth - The work is in the public domain so I don't have to clear permissions.  Fact - Even if it is not copyright protected, it could still be protected by other legal theories including trade secret, contract law, or other legal protections.
Thanks, Costco. 

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