Law Office of Jason H. Rosenblum, PLLC

Intellectually Protecting Your Property ®

When is Your Copyright Being Violated?

Copyright infringement occurs when another person besides the copyright holder duplicates or copies a work without the owner’s permission. The actual idea behind the work is not protected by copyright, but how the idea is expressed is. For example, there have been many films about space travel, but there is only one Darth Vader!
Infringement can also occur even if the work is not copied precisely. In the cases of infringement upon music or art, the similarity to the original work must be “substantially similar”. This can be difficult to judge.
There are instances when it is permissible to copy a work without infringing upon it.
1. Fair Use. Reproduction is permitted for the purpose of education, reviewing, or literary criticism. This is why students can read and discuss Lord of the Flies in English Literature class.
2. Public Domain. A work falls into the public domain when it is no longer covered by copyright upon expiration. Older songs and books fall under this and can be duplicated at will.
3. Non-Copyrightable Works. This refers to ideas and facts. These cannot be covered by copyright law. But this is not black and white. If, for example, someone put together a book of facts, the reproduction of all or part of that book without permission would be infringement.
To learn more about this and to protect your own creative works call us today.