What is Copyright?
Publishing any media, whether digital or print imposes a responsibility
to understand copyright. Copyright is an automatic protection of
creative works from duplication. It does not require any formal
registration, however there are facilities where this can be done
so that the primary copyright cannot be disputed.
There are instances where
copyright does not apply, and instances where prior creative
work may be used under the umbrella of fair
use of intellectual property.
Copyright statutes aim to encourage development of intellectual
property and artistic products for the public good. Creators are
given exclusive rights, for limited times, to copy and distribute
their works. They may also control the use of and seek payment for
their original creations and for their derivative works. This applies
to art, publishing, and software.
The main law protecting intellectual property for digital publishers
is the Digital Millennium
What is protected by copyright law?
Your artwork is your intellectual property, and it is protected
by copyright law.
Your art (graphics, photos, music, etc.) becomes protected by
copyright when you take it from an idea or concept and make it into
something fixed and tangible. The basic requirements that a work
of art must meet to qualify for copyright protection are:
- It must be original. The artwork must be original,
not copied from anything else.
- It must be creative. The artwork must show
at least a minimum amount of creativity.
- It must be fixed in a tangible medium, regardless
of whether that is digital, painted, drawn, music, scanned, printed,
photographic or any combination accessible by any device
If you can see or touch your artwork, with or without the aid of
a machine or device, no matter what its medium, it qualifies as
being fixed in a tangible medium of expression. And you own it and
the copyrights to it. Unless it's been pre-empted by the Frumious
Bandersnatch; see the section further on for due warning!
So you cannot just scrape content off websites and print them into
your book. All published works are copyright automatically.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
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Please note that these articles about Copyright are informational only. Please
consult your legal advisor.