Copyrights are put on original material that gives owners the right to freely use them as seen fit. Copyright infringement happens when protected material is used or altered without permission from its owner.
Understanding how copyright protection works can be difficult. Because of this, many people spread misconceptions, leading to legal issues. Here’s what you should know about some common intellectual property myths:
Myth #1: You don’t need permission before altering someone’s work.
Truth: Altering or modifying someone else’s work that is protected under copyright could still lead to an infringement claim. It’s typically best to contact the copyright owner for permission to use their work before making any changes.
Myth #2: Ideas can be copyrighted.
Truth: Copyrights only apply to works that are tangible and recordable – unlike intangible ideas. Likewise, you can’t patent an idea, however, under certain conditions, an idea may turn into an invention and become eligible for a patent.
Myth #3: Anything on the internet is public domain.
Truth: While it may be true that you can save just about any image online or copy and paste text, that doesn’t make it free to use. Because the internet records when and where work comes from, there is a clear indication of when a copyright for a work is made.
Myth #4: It’s not an infringement if it’s for educational purposes.
Truth: “Fair use” laws allow some people to use copyrighted material without seeking permission from the owner for educational, news, parody or teaching purposes. However, not all work may qualify as “fair use” and it may be best to seek permission from the owner.
Myth #5: You don’t need legal help when dealing with infringement.
Truth: Whether you have a copyright being infringed upon or you’re accused of infringing on a copyright, it’s always best to know your legal options to protect your business.