Some Myths About Copyright
- Plagiarism is not a legal issue it's an ethical one. Giving
credit to the author does not exonerate you from complying with
copyright. Denying credit will weigh against you, though.
- A notice serves to strengthen the protection but it is no
longer a requirement. It is best to assume a work is copyrighted
until proven otherwise.
- Giving away copies of a work like music, without charging is a
violation of the law even if the work has no commercial value.
- Copyright law is mostly civil law and so you could get sued,
but you won't be charged with a crime. The rights accorded to
criminal offenders therefore, do not apply. However, it is now a
felony to violate commercial copyright when more than 10 copies and
a value of over $2,500 are involved. This has yet to be
- Because information is stored somewhere on an Internet server,
it is fixed in a tangible medium and qualifies for copyright
protection (except of course government documents, public domain,
works dedicated to public domain). Being on the Internet does not
make it public domain.
- Just because you can easily download or print does not mean you
- On the one hand, it is a reasonable assumption that when a
copyright owner uploads a work there is an implied license to
download it for personal use (although this has yet to be tried in
- On the other hand, only the legitimate owner can upload the
work and Internet users have no way of knowing who put it there in
the first place.
- On the other hand, someone who innocently downloads an
illegally uploaded work, only for personal purposes of course has
done nothing wrong.
- On the other hand, the courts have determined that a person who
wrongfully uploads a work can be held liable for copyright