the Irish for rights

Ten Copyright Myths

At Ignite Dublin #4, held in TCD’s Science Gallery as part of last week’s Trinity Week celebrations, I gave a 20-slides-in-5-minutes presentation on Ten Copyright Myths, in part because the previous weekend saw the 300th anniversary of the first modern copyright statute, the Statute of Anne, 1710 (fascimile | transcript | wikipedia). For the day that’s in it, here’s a YouTube video of my presentation:

For those who don’t have 5 minutes to watch, here are the myths debunked:

  1. You don’t need to put the copyright symbol © on a text to claim copyright. All that matters is that the work is original.
  2. You don’t need to put it in an envelope and send it to yourself. If the work is original, then copyright just vests.
  3. There is no doctrine of fair use outside of the United States. Instead, there is a much more limited doctrine of fair dealing for the purposes of research or criticism.
  4. Just because something has been published on the internet doesn’t mean that it’s in the public domain. There’s a lot less in the public domain than you might think.
  5. Taking a work, and transforming it, still infringes copyright.
  6. Giving credit is important; but if the taking is a copyright infringement, giving credit doesn’t change that fact.
  7. Taking a copyright work, but not charging for your use, will still be an infringement if the taking is a copyright infringement.
  8. The fact that the original author is dead doesn’t mean the work is out of copyright. The copyright term is the life of the author plus seventy years.
  9. Creative Commons is a good development, but it’s just a system of licences or permissions, and it won’t change the copyright world.
  10. Finally, just because are copying books doesn’t mean the rest of us can: they have permission pursuant to a court settlement.

So, there you have it, ten copyright myths debunked. What others would you add to the list?

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7 Responses to “Ten Copyright Myths”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eoin O'Dell. Eoin O'Dell said: http://tinyurl.com/33byfzd My new blogpost: Ten Copyright Myths […]

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by cearta: http://tinyurl.com/33byfzd My new blogpost: Ten Copyright Myths…

  3. Excellent post, and the list is useful as a bullet point guide to copyright for the uninitiated.

    A possible addition concerns first ownership under section 23: Just because you pay someone to create something for you doesn’t mean you own the copyright. A common example of when this myth (or misunderstanding) arises is wedding photography.

    While not quite a copyright myth, it strikes me that the word “copyrighted” is frequently misused (along with its IP siblings “trademarked” and “patented”).

    The lack of general public awareness of the distinctions is understandable but journalists often confuse the three (eg. “He copyrighted his brand/slogan/logo”; “She has patented her company’s logo”).

  4. Joseph O' Rourke says:

    Excellent presentation Eoin, thoroughly enjoyed it!

  5. […] has a good article debunking Ten Copyright Myths. They should make everyone read and understand this before they’re allowed to use the […]

  6. […] way of update on Sliding into Oblivion and Ten Copyright Myths, and in the week when the Pentagon has come to believe that PowerPoint is damaging the US war […]

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Me in a hatHi there! Thanks for dropping by. I’m Eoin O’Dell, and this is my blog: Cearta.ie – the Irish for rights.

“Cearta” really is the Irish word for rights, so the title provides a good sense of the scope of this blog.

In general, I write here about private law, free speech, and cyber law; and, in particular, I write about Irish law and education policy.

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