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Written by : Sanjuanita Bankhead
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hi i'm stan muller this is crash course intellectual property and today we're going to be talking about copyright law as you might have guessed the law of copyright relates to the right to copy the copyright as it relates to copies of copyrightable works you copy right so the right to copy or reproduce copyright protected works is only one of the exclusive rights granted by the law of copyright we're also going to discuss what types of things can actually be copyrighted what we call the subject matter but first let's talk a little bit about the history of copyright law in the united states why the united states not because the u.s is exceptional and not because i'm a cultural imperialist trying to erode the identity and fabric of foreign nations mostly it's just because we're making this video in the united states and copyright law is territorial so in 1709 england passed the statute of anne which is widely considered to be the first copyright law the statute of anne was the first law to grant ownership rights to individual authors rather than to publishers or printers throughout the 18th century several of the american colonies adopted copyright and copyright-like laws based on the statute of anne the drafters of the u.s constitution inserted what is commonly called the intellectual property clause in article 1 section 8 clause 8 and reads the congress shall have the power to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive rights to their respective writings so listed right up there with congress's power to lay and collect taxes and to declare war and to gather armies is the power to promote the progress of learning and knowledge through the grant of a limited monopoly to authors and inventors in the form of copyrights and patents it is without question the coolest of the congressional powers stan does that seem biased oh i'm stan uh mark does that seem biased no good the law has undergone several major revisions in the past 225 years and it's currently in the process of a major review so let's talk about what types of works are eligible for copyright protection and what rights authors or owners have in those works copyright law protects original works of authorship originality in the context of copyright means only that the work owes its origin to the author that is it's independently created and isn't copied from other works how creative do these original works have to be though not very at all for work to be copyrightable there only needs to be a minimal amount of creativity adult judges in court have described it as a scintilla a dab even a glimmer so why is the bar for creativity set so low well it's because lawmakers and judges probably aren't the best people to decide what types of creative works promote the progress of knowledge supreme court justice oliver wendell holmes said it would be a dangerous undertaking for persons trained only to the law to constitute themselves judges of the worth of pictorial illustrations outside of the narrowest and most obvious limits holmes may have been speaking specifically about pictorial illustrations in this case but the principle applies to any type of creative work anyway holmes clearly feels that judges don't necessarily make the best art critics so what does holmes mean by narrow and obvious limits well words and short phrases like names john green titles like the fault in our stars slogans one sick love story fonts coloring mere listings of ingredients or contents familiar symbols or designs like an eight ball none of this is protectable under copyright law are they protected by any other branch of intellectual property ask again later one quick note in order for a work to be protected by copyright it need not in and of itself promote the progress of science from literary novels to the most graphic pornography it's probably protectable the courts have concluded that it isn't a question of whether a work promotes the progress of knowledge but that all works are granted equal protection in this way the law encourages people to create a diverse array of stuff at the end of the day it's the system that promotes the progress of science and not the individual works copyright law protects original works of authorship works of authorship fall into any of the eight categories that are listed in the copyright act literary works are basically anything that can be embodied by letters or numbers including novels blogs computer programs websites databases and possibly really creative tweets musical works refers to the actual musical notation of a song by say t swizzy sound recordings are the actual music embodied in the record or the cd or an mp3 and it extends to things like audiobooks that's what you actually hear dramatic works which are basically stage productions like wicked or cats or waiting for godot pantomimes and choreographic works pictorial graphic and sculptural works motion pictures and even architectural works all of these are considered to be writings congress has indicated that this list isn't exhaustive and it's vague on purpose because humans are coming up with new ways to express themselves all the time believe it or not this is not the apex of human creativity so imagining the guggenheim or a mime routine as writing can feel like a stretch in order for any of these works to be considered bona fide writings in the constitutional sense they must be fixed in any tangible medium of expression be that a book an mp3 source code choreography a blueprint or whatever the only requirement for a tangible medium of expression is that we as humans either on our own or by using a computer or some other device be able to perceive it in the form of a copy or record this brings up a widely misunderstood aspect of copyright copyright protection extends to the intangible material the literary work not the physical copy of the work you may own the copy of the book but you don't own the copyright also copyright extends only to expression and not to ideas if you come up with a million dollar idea for the best movie ever made or the greatest novel in history until you actually write these masterpieces and fix them in a tangible medium copyright law doesn't protect you and you can't copyright facts let's say you do some research and discover that matthew buchinger was born in germany on june 3rd 1674 without hands or legs he was a famous artist calligrapher and magician he was called the little man of nuremberg and the greatest german living and he was married four times fathered at least 14 children by eight different women even if you spend your entire academic career uncovering these fascinating facts facts alone aren't copyrightable a biography of bookinger would qualify for copyright protection but only the narrative expression would qualify subsequent biographers could use the facts you uncovered in your research but would be prohibited from expressing those facts using your words they'd have to make up their own sounds of fair or scenes that must be done are not copyrightable either these are well-worn storylines like a pai
Thanks for your comment Domitila Smedes, have a nice day.
- Sanjuanita Bankhead, Staff Member
this video is really about helping you to understand what copyright is and how it affects you we have tried to keep the legal terms and references to a minimum but some is unavoidable so take your time watching this video and if there is anything you don't understand please get in touch copyright is a legal right that covers all creative forms this means that if your work is protected by copyright legally nobody else is allowed to copy it without permission of course if somebody were to do so they would be liable to have to pay you for the use of your work the creative work may be in a literary artistic educational or musical form this also means that the work of other people is protected by the same laws when you publish anything on the internet a photo or a song a story a movie or a drawing you automatically own an all rights reserved copyright to that creativity this protects your creativity against any use that you don't consent to some people though are happy for their work to be used by everyone or some of their work to be used for certain uses and to enable this to happen there is a licensing service called creative commons sounds complicated but it isn't and it's free to use check out the link in our further reading section that means you could allow people to remix reuse refine your work and you would still own it the reason for copyrighting your material is to protect your work without this legal protection anybody can take and use your creative material for their own gain financial or otherwise and give you nothing it's important to safeguard your work so that you get any profit or success due to you that may arise from it just as it is important to protect yourself you must also respect other people's rights and not infringe on their creative work either so when it comes to adding music to a film or a podcast you can't just use your favorite song you have to make sure that whatever music you do use is copyright free or that you have received permission to do so this can be done as simply as contacting them and asking their permission for you to use their work as mentioned earlier protection is automatic from the moment you create your work however you may not share your work online and then in that case how do you copyright your work there may also come a time when you need to prove that the work is in fact yours this is unlikely but it may happen send yourself a physical copy of your work by registered post after you've created it print out your script or lyrics or make a cd of your song or dvd of your video or put them on a usb keep the envelope and receipt safe and if an infringement ever comes up this will be able to be opened in court and act as proof of copyright another way to get this protection is to register your work with an organization such as the irish copyright licensing agency who will then provide evidence that their work is yours should the need ever arise there are other organizations such as imro that can help to be a part of also at this stage of your creative career it is important to make sure that when you publish anything online that you establish your ownership of the work and this can be by keeping good digital file management systems emailing work to a friend or even yourself copyright will last the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years after this the song film or design etc goes into the public domain and is free for anyone to use the details of this can change from country to country but generally speaking this is the rule you could use someone else's work by buying the rights to it or getting permission the song happy birthday was in copyright until recently same with the works of james joyce but if you want to stage a samuel beckett play then you have to get permission from his estate the reason that tv series and film often show vintage films on tvs in the background is because oftentimes these films or shows are in the public domain and free to use or copyright has expired there are always some exceptions to the rule when it comes to infringement on copyright if the work is being used for educational purposes or as part of an archive or library it is often allowed but not always if the copyright is not seen as substantial it is also not seen as infringement however this is risky on behalf of the copying party substantiality is quite a loose term the term fair dealing is used if another artist credits your work you might see many musicians doing this when they cover a song this is also allowed furthermore you can license someone to use your work if you wish an artist will often charge for this be careful when publishing anything online if you view someone else's music or sound effects you'll be penalized by youtube etc for infringements and you may find your videos have received claims that aren't correct because bots have recognized part or a similar part of song we recommend always using royalty-free music or better still create your own see our music production module on how to do just that copyright will generally cover whatever original work you create such as scripts for your podcast or movie the actual sound recordings you make song lyrics and music however it won't necessarily cover the title of your podcast or the name of your movie or song also worth noting if you are interviewing somebody you own the copyright to the questions but your guests will own the copyright to their answers some professional shows will ask their guests to sign a talent release form to prevent any disputes when a podcast has been released if you are collaborating with other people then that copyright is shared between all of the creators it is always a good idea to have a discussion about this before you start a collaboration so that everyone involved agrees on how the copyright will be shared none of this information should stop you making your own work providing you know what copyright is how to protect yours and that you respect the copyright of other creators you should never have an issue likewise taking five minutes to agree on how copyright will be shared before you start a collaboration will normally avoid issues down the line enjoy and keep creating
Thanks abecednio your participation is very much appreciated
- Sanjuanita Bankhead
About the author
I've studied feminist philosophy at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in La Crosse and I am an expert in neuroeconomics. I usually feel recumbent. My previous job was marine surveyor I held this position for 15 years, I love talking about dog training and youtube channel. Huge fan of Daniel Franzese I practice diving and collect phone cards.
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