If you want to relinquish all rights to your work and notify others that your work is free for use, here is what you need to do:. If instead you want to grant free access to your work, but still want to retain ownership, you can explore the option of an Open License instead.
And this is a major problem. In order to work within the legal parameters of copyright law, bloggers must first understand the basics. Here is a high-level overview to get you up to speed:. If someone stands to gain anything monetarily from using the work, that will almost always be a violation of copyright law.
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Consider the following:. This criterion for determining the nature of the use of copyrighted material can get a bit murky, so tread lightly; consulting professional legal advice is a good idea. Here are some important points to keep in mind:.
What if you only quoted a single sentence, but the author still considers any copying of their words infringement? As a creative professional, you owe it to other creative individuals to treat their work with respect. Consider this the Golden Rule of blogging: what would you do or how would you feel if you discovered that someone ripped off your work — even in the most minor of ways — and profited from it?
Bloggers are no different than any other writer or content creator, which means they deserve the same amount of protection under the law. WordPress is the most popular blogging platform. These plugins will help you manage your blog. If you use another CMS, you may be able to find similar plugins or extensions.
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Video game copyright can be a confusing matter for developers. It has a tendency to stir up questions you might not otherwise consider until something happens that forces you to think about them. For instance:. Why let all that hard work go to waste only to leave your game unprotected?
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Or, worse, invest all that work into something, only to have it taken down because someone else believes you violated their copyright? The moment you create your video game — whether published or not — it is copyright protected. For developers in search of legal protection over all aspects of the game, there are a number of laws in place to provide you with nearly full coverage:. Copyright law and infringement happen to be a particularly sticky area when it comes to video games. And, to complicate matters further, there are reasons why developers may choose not to take action against infringers.
But to be on the safe side, it would be in your best interest to formally register and place a notice on any and all games you make. Copyright infringement basically means that someone has copied your original content in some way, shape, or form. Fair Use is, in essence, the exception to copyright law. It says that if someone has copied a work for the purposes of parody, criticism, or commentary, then it is acceptable. This is why copyright law can become especially tricky for video games.
Technically, a fan creation is a derivative work of another video game, which means developers of fan creations need to be very careful. Game developers own the copyright to derivatives, sequels, and all creative content within their game including characters, setting, and the storyline , which could potentially leave fan creations open to copyright infringement lawsuits if they too closely follow the original.
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For example, in a massively multiplayer online role-playing game MMORPG like World of Warcraft, a mod might add a special graphical display of healing. Because mod developers are usually making modifications to games they do not hold the copyright to, they can find themselves in those murky waters between copyright infringement and Fair Use.
One is where another developer steals your creative content for their own video game.
The other is when someone shares your video game online without permission to do so — and this is where DMCA comes into play. More on that below. Well, there are a number of reasons why developers have chosen not to pursue any legal recourse against offenders:. The argument as to whether fan creations, add-ons, and mods are copyright infringing works will be something you have to decide on your own since every case is unique.
Game mods and fan creations are a fairly accepted part of the gaming industry these days, so it can be difficult to make that choice to take action against them — especially when you consider what they can do for your own game in terms of finance, reputation, and so on.
And this is why some developers choose to ignore copyright infringement since these mods can often improve upon their intellectual property.
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When it comes to fan creations, some developers choose to look the other way as well. Of course, there is always going to be the case of the rogue developer who takes it too far and totally rips off a storyline from another game or creates a mod that helps players cheat. The internet is a goldmine of information and near-limitless access to content. You might also want to reproduce video or written works that were produced many decades ago. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act compels web hosting companies to remove the content immediately, and ask questions later.
Remember: the DMCA will apply to you if your website is hosted in the US, so this law has international repercussions. If you are beyond the reach of the DMCA, copyright theft could land you with a court summons, a fine, or a Google penalty, depending on what you use, and how you share it. Some of the differences between different countries are nuanced, and difficult to summarize, so the following guides and links apply mainly to the US.
The History and Philosophy of Copyright
Copyright for a work is not internationally applicable, and rules differ from country to country. Treaties and conventions have been adopted between countries to try to smooth out the differences and create a consistent system. That will help to determine its status, and your rights to use it. Additionally, knowing the date of publication will give you a clue as to whether its copyright is still valid, or whether it has lapsed, which would place the work in the public domain.
The issue of registration is also a crucial point. But under US law, registration is essential if copyright is infringed and the issue goes to court. In the US, copyright status differs according to creation date, renewal date, and whether the item was formally registered. Unregistered works also come under different laws, depending on whether they were created by individuals or companies. For almost a century, the US Copyright Office kept detailed records about the copyright status of thousands of works. These records exist on a mixture of formats, including paper catalogs, microfiche, and online records.
The US Copyright Office retains information on all registered works from until the present day, and its website provides more information on accessing different types of records. Some are available online, whereas paper and microfiche catalogs known as Catalog of Copyright Entries are also provided at selected libraries. Some of these older records are currently being digitized.
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But there are a few important reasons why old records — including the Catalog of Copyright Entries — cannot be completely relied upon:. Depending on the level of detail you need, you may have to pay a fee to retrieve relevant documents. Many countries are signed up to international copyright treaties.
The Berne Convention is the most important, since it supersedes many other conventions, and has the widest membership. The World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty covers important copyright conventions relating to digital publication. Our Beyond Berne section provides information about some other important copyright treaties. Additionally, some countries have their own national copyright office.
Criticism and Experience
As the internet has evolved, concepts like copyright, intellectual property, and Fair Use have been constantly tested and revised. Fast internet connection speeds have made it easier for everybody to share media, and the Digital Millenium Copyright Act was devised to try to deal with the resulting intellectual property theft. The humble tape recorder and photocopier also introduced the possibility of copyright violation on a large scale.