EXCELLENT- ACT Math Question of the Day
This is a FABULOUS review/practice tool for preparing for the ACT. The creator of this site has a calendar with Pre & Elem (A)lgebra | (I)ntermediate Algebra | (P)lane Geometry | (C)oordinate Geometry | (T)rig practice problems. Click on one each day or do several at a time. A problem appears for the student to work, the click on the circled arrow and the creator actually walks the student through how the problem should be worked. I have not found any other sites that walk you through how to work the problem and point out how you can use process of elimination to narrow answer choices. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED SITE!
MLA Citation Machine
This page provides an in-depth overview of MLA format. It includes information related to MLA citations, plagiarism, proper formatting for in-text and regular citations, and examples of citations for many different types of sources.
Alabama Virtual Library
Students no longer need a username or a password to access the AVL as long as they use a computer in the state of Alabama.
If you have trouble finding resources to start, Easy Bib has a Research section that will show you the bibliographies of other users that researched the same topic. It labels each entry as credible or maybe credible to not credible. If you need more help with writing your paper you can click on the Citation Guide tab. The Citation Guide walks you through writing a paper from Brainstorming an idea to proofreading and revising. http://www.easybib.com/
MLA Citation information
MLA Style and format guide for writing papers.
Steps to Writing a Research Paper
This site includes simple, comical less stressful paper writing process with step by step guidelines throughout the writing process.
This site allows you to copy and paste your paper into this site and it will scan it for you to tell you how much of it could be considered plagiarized. This tool will also be available to our teachers who may choose to use it as well.
Plagiarism scanning site
Here is another plagiarism scanning site where students and teachers can copy and paste papers or homework into the box to be scanned to be sure that the work submitted is the students own work and not something copied from another or off the internet.
This site offers teachers and students free grammar and spelling checks, free online proofing, plagiarism detection and suggestions for making the paper better, and you do not need an account. Papers are reviewed by professors and grad students who will offer suggestions and provide a grading score. This would be great for students to use prior to submitting the final draft in order to obtain the best grade possible.
Grammarly is an automated proofreader and your personal grammar coach. Check your writing for grammar, punctuation, style and much more.
Flash Card Flash
This site helps students save time by finding flash cards that have already been created on any subject they may need to study.
Welcome to BibMe! The fully automatic bibliography maker that auto-fills. It's the easiest way to build a works cited page. And it's free.
1 Search for a book, article, website, or film, or enter the information yourself.
2 Add it to your bibliography.
3 Download your bibliography in either the MLA, APA, Chicago, or Turabian formats and include it in your paper. It's that easy!
Create your own flash cards to study for any subject. Easy to use and FREE!
Helps students learn vocabulary, languages, etc.
Copyright For Teachers
This is another resource for copyright law clarification.
Copyright Fair Use Guidelines
This is a great link for teachers and students who may need to clarify what you may legally do under the copyright law.
Copyright and Schools
Students and teachers rely on many resources in their day-to-day academic activities. This site makes full use of copyright material such as books, television, music, films, and websites easier.
Internet Safety for Kids & Parents
The Net Cetera Community Outreach Toolkit helps provide the community with information about protecting kids online. This kit has the resources and information parents need to convey key points about protecting their children online.
Basic and easy to understand copyright information to help students avoid plagiarism issues.
When to Take the ACT
When to Take the ACT
FREE Online Books
FREE ONLINE BOOKS
Books to read online:
Free Audio Books:
Free Ebooks for your PDA, iPod, eBook Reader
Books Read by Authors, Actors:
What is Copyright?
Why Should I Care About Copyright?
Which Works Are Protected by Copyright?
Which Works Are Not Protected by Copyright?
Who Owns the Copyright in a Work?
What is Copyright Infringement?
When Do I Need Permission to Copy?
How Do I Obtain Copyright Protection?
When And How Do I Register a Copyright ?
How Long Does Copyright Protection Last?
What is Copyright?
Did you know that whenever you write a poem or story or even a paper for your class, or a drawing or other artwork, you automatically own the copyright to it. Copyright is a form of protection given to the authors or creators of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other intellectual works. What that means is that, as the author of the work, you alone have the right to do any of the following or to let others do any of the following:
- make copies of your work;
- distribute copies of your work;
- perform your work publicly (such as for plays, film, dances or music);
- display your work publicly (such as for artwork, or stills from audiovisual works, or any material used on the Internet or television); and
- make “derivative works” (including making modifications, adaptations or other new uses of a work, or translating the work to another media).
In general, it is illegal for anyone to do any of the things listed above with a work created by you without your permission, but there are some exceptions and limitations to your rights as a copyright holder. One major limitation is the doctrine of “Fair Use,” discussed below.
Copyright law in the United States is embodied in federal laws enacted by Congress. The current copyright law, the Copyright Act of 1976 (as amended), is codified in Title 17 of the U.S. Code.
Why Should I Care About Copyright?
When you create something, aren't you proud of your work when you spend a lot of time and energy creating it? How about that social studies report you finally finished, that poem for your Mom that made her smile, that cool logo you came up with for your soccer team, the great song you wrote for the school play, or even your journal that you don't "have" to do but you enjoy it so much and it's special to you? Well, all these are your creations and you'd probably be pretty upset if someone just copied any of them without your permission. That's where copyright comes in. Copyright law gives you a set of rights that prevents other people from copying your work and doing other things with your work that you may not like.
As the creator of your work, you should have the right to control what people can and cannot do with your work. In the United States - one of the world's biggest sources of creative works like movies, television shows, books, computer games, etc. -- this right to control your work has actually turned into big business, but that's what allows all the creative people around us to get paid for coming up with all the wonderful songs, shows, books, painting, movies and other great works that we enjoy. Just think of all the cool songs your favorite band wrote, the great books you loved reading, the plays, movies and television shows you love to watch again and again. These talented musicians, authors, illustrators and screenwriters deserve our respect and appreciation - and they deserve to make a living from the hard work they put into their creative works -- otherwise most of them wouldn't be able to produce as many (or any) of the songs, books, plays, movies and TV shows that you like. That's what copyright is all about. It reflects our appreciation for all the hard work that goes into creating "original works of authorship" and respect for the right of the creator of that work to control what people can and cannot do with it.
Which Works Are Protected by Copyright?
Copyright protects "original works of authorship" that are Fixed in "a tangible form of expression." The fixed form does not have to be directly perceptible so long as it can be communicated with the aid of a machine or other device. Copyrightable works fall into the following categories:
- literary works (which includes computer software);
- musical works, including any accompanying words;
- dramatic works, including any accompanying music ;
- pantomimes and choreographic works;
- pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
- motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
- sound recordings; and
- architectural works.
Which Works Are Not Protected by Copyright?
Not everything is protected by copyright law. The following are categories of things not protected:
- Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, (but written or recorded descriptions, explanations, or illustrations of such things are protected copyright);
- Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; mere listings of ingredients or contents (but some titles and words might be protected under trademark law if their use is associated with a particular product or service);
- Works that are not fixed in a tangible form of expression, such as an improvised speech or performance that is not written down or otherwise recorded;
- Works consisting entirely of information that is commonly available and contains no originality (for example, standard calendars, standard measures and rulers, lists or tables compiled from public documents or other common sources); and
- Works by the US government.
Who Owns the Copyright in a Work?
The copyright in a work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created it at the moment it is put into fixed form. No one but the author can claim copyright to the work, unless the author grants rights to others in a written agreement (such as to the author's publisher or record company). Usually, you can tell who the author of a work is -- the person who created it. But sometimes, it is not quite that easy.
Works made for hire
Works made for hire (a work "made for hire" by an employee and certain kinds of commissioned works) are considered to be authored by the employer or the commissioning party. So if your boss asks you to write a report as part of your job, the company you work for gets all the copyright protection that would otherwise have been available to you.
Two or more authors
When two or more people create a work together, each of them is an author: they are called "joint authors" and the work is called a "joint work." Joint authors are co-owners of the copyright in the work, unless they agree otherwise. For instance is your class paints a big painting or mural together, each of the students who painted part of it is a joint author and a copyright owner.
What is Copyright Infringement?
Anyone who exploits any of the exclusive rights of copyright without the copyright owner's permission commits copyright infringement. If a lawsuit is brought in a court, the infringer will have to pay the copyright owner the amount of money the infringer made from using the work or that the owner would have made if the infringement had not happened. If the copyright is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, the infringer may also have to pay copyright owner what's called statutory damages -- an amount set by the judge that will usually be higher. In addition, an infringer may be found guilty on criminal charges and have to pay criminal penalties. Moreover, the infringer will also be stopped from making any further use of the work.
In order for a court to determine that a copyright in a work has been infringed upon it must find that: (1) the infringing work is "substantially similar" to the copyrighted work, and (2) the alleged infringer had access to the copyrighted work -- meaning they actually saw it or heard it. There are no clear rules for deciding when "substantial similarity" exists between two works. Courts look for similarities in appearance, sound, words, format, layout, sequence, and other elements of the works.
The exclusive rights of the copyright owner are not unlimited. The copyright law establishes some limitations on these rights. One of the most important limitations on the exclusive rights is the doctrine of "Fair Use." The "Fair Use" doctrine allows limited copying of copyrighted works for educational and research purposes. The copyright law provides that reproduction "for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research" is not an infringement of copyright. The law lists the following factors, which courts must consider together in determining whether a particular use of a copyrighted work is a permitted "Fair Use," or is instead an infringement of the copyright:
the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes: the noncommercial educational use is more likely to be a fair use;
the nature of the copyrighted work: the more factual and less creative the work, the more likely it will be fair use;
the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole: the more taken the less likely to be fair use; and
the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work: in other words, is the use taking away from the copyright owner money that the she might have been making from the work.
No case will be decided on just one of these factors. Courts are supposed to look at all of the factors and balance them together to see whether more factors weigh in favor of finding fair use. Courts may consider some factors more important than others in a particular case.
When Do I Need Permission to Copy?
Unless you are absolutely sure, relying on the doctrine of "Fair Use" to avoid seeking Permission to copy a work is risky. Despite what you may have heard, there are no set rules about what kind of use is "fair" and what is "infringing." For example, using less than a certain number of words from an author's work does not automatically constitute fair use. Courts apply the four factors on a case-by-case basis, and one court's interpretation of the factors could easily differ from another's. Thus, it is often impossible to predict whether or not a court would find any given unauthorized use to be "fair." The best course of action is simply to seek permission for all copied material you intend to use.
To obtain permission, you must determine who is the copyright owner of the material you intend to use, contact the owner, obtain permission to use the work in the territory and format you intend, and -- in some cases -- pay the owner a fee. Permission fees are negotiable and will vary depending on the amount and nature of the material you intend to use. If the use is not commercial -- meaning no one is trying to make money from it (such as a school play), then you may be able to get the rights for free. The publisher or distributor should be able to provide you with ownership information or even obtain and provide the permission. The records of the Copyright Office, if kept up to date, should tell you who owns the copyright. These records are open to the public, and the Copyright Office will search its records on request for an hourly fee.
How Do I Obtain Copyright Protection?
Beyond creating a copyrightable work, an author need do little else to gain copyright protection. Neither publication, nor registration with the Copyright Office, is required today to secure copyright.
Copyright Exists Automatically Upon Creation
Copyright exists immediately and automatically when the work is created, that is, when it is fixed in a tangible copy for the first time. A "copy" is a material objects from which a work can be read or visually perceived either directly or with the aid of a machine or device, such as books, manuscripts, sheet music, film, videotape, or microfilm. A song can be fixed in sheet music (a "copy") or in a CD, or both.
Notice of Copyright
The use of a copyright notice has not been required under U.S. law since March 1, 1989. Prior to that date, U.S. law did require notice to obtain copyright protection, and the use of notice is still relevant to the copyright status of some older works. Use of notice is still important, however, because it informs the public that the work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright owner, and shows the year that it was first sold or distributed to the public.
Form of Notice
The notice for visually perceptible copies (like books and posters) should contain all of these items:
- The symbol © (the letter "C" in a circle), or the word "Copyright" or the abbreviation "Copr.";
- The year of first publication of the work; and
- The name of the copyright owner.
Example: © 2001 John Doe
When And How Do I Register a Copyright ?
Registration of a copyright with the Copyright Office creates a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright. Registration may be made any time before the term of copyright expires. Registration is not needed for copyright protection, but there are many good reasons to do so.
- Registration establishes a public record of the copyright.
- Registration is necessary before an infringement lawsuit may be brought.
- If registration is made within 3 months after selling or distributing the work to the public or prior to an infringement of the work, a copyright owner will be eligible for Statutory Damages if he or she sues for infringement and wins.
Please see the Registration page for information on how to register a copyright.
Effective Date Of Registration
A copyright registration is effective on the date the Copyright Office receives all the required items in acceptable form, no matter how long it the office takes to process the application and mail the certificate of registration.
How Long Does Copyright Protection Last?
Copyrights do not last forever, but they do last a pretty long time. Under the current laws, copyright protection starts from the moment of creation of the work and continues until 70 years after the death of the author or artist. That means that if someone who is 15 in the year 2001 writes a story that year and dies when he is 85 in the year 2086, the copyright will not expire until 70 years after 2086 -- in the year 2156, which is 130 years away. When the term of a copyright expires (meaning it's finished), the work falls into what's called the "public domain." When a work is in the public domain anyone can copy it and use it without permission. This is why you can copy artists like Leonardo da VInci and writers like Shakespeare and music writers like Mozart all you want. In the case of a joint work prepared by two or more authors, the term of copyright lasts for 70 years after the last surviving author's death. For works made for hire, and for anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the author's identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright will be 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation (whichever is shorter). Works created when prior copyright laws were in effect had shorter terms. Under the law in effect before 1978, copyright was secured either on the date a work was publicly distributed or on the date of registration (if the work was not publicly distributed). In either case, the copyright lasted for a first term of 28 years. During the last (28th) year of the first term, the copyright was eligible for renewal for another 28 years by filing with the Copyright Office. The terms of many earlier copyrights were extended by later laws, and you cannot assume that any work is in the public domain unless it was first published before 1923.
Copyright Holder/Copyright Owner
First Sale Doctrine
Master Use License
Right Of Publicity
Tangible Form Of Expression
Work For Hire
COLLECTIVE WORK: A collective work is a work, such as an encyclopedia or anthology, that includes a number of separate smaller works.
COMPILATION: A "compilation" is a work formed by collecting preexisting material or facts and selecting or arranging them in an original way. A Collective Work is a type of compilation.
COPYRIGHT: A "copyright" is actually a "bundle of rights" that the creator of a work is entitled to control if the work is "an original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression." This means that in order to be entitled to copyright protection, the work has to be something you created (and didn't copy from another work) and set down in some physical form, like in writing, on videotape, in a sound recording, in a computer program or on a computer screen. The "bundle of rights" that are included in copyright are the right to: (1) distribute the work, (2) reproduce (or make copies of) the work, (3) display the work (for example, a painting that you want to allow a museum to publicly display), (4) perform the work, and (5) create Derivative Works based upon the original work. Note that there is an exception to the general rule that the creator of the work owns the copyright in the work - see Work-for-Hire.
COPYRIGHT HOLDER/COPYRIGHT OWNER: A "copyright owner" or "copyright holder" is a person or a company who owns any one of the Exclusive Rights of copyright in a work. Copyright ownership is separate from the ownership of the work itself. For instance, when an artist sells a painting to someone, the artist usually retains the copyright in the painting. That means the buyer of the painting will have it to keep in her house or office but the artist will retain the rights to copy, display and distribute the painting, and make other works based on the painting. Copyrights not only can be sold independent of the work itself, but the different exclusive rights can also be sold separately. For instance, an artist could sell the right to make copies of his artwork to one person and could sell the right to publicly display it to someone else.
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: You may have seen on a book the following notice "© [name of copyright owner] [year of creation]" or, in the case of a CD or other Sound Recording, "[name of copyright owner] [year of creation]." These are called copyright notices. Prior to January 1, 1978, if there was a so-called "general Publication" of a work without a complete copyright notice, the work could immediately become part of the Public Domain. Under the current United States Copyright Act, a copyright notice is no longer required to be placed on a work in order to have copyright protection but many people still use the notice because it lets the world know who the owner of the copyright is and that the work is protected by copyright.
DERIVATIVE WORK: A "derivative work" is a work that is "based upon one or more preexisting works." One of the Exclusive Rights of a Copyright Owner is to make derivative works. The United States Copyright Act gives many examples of what is a derivative work. One example is a motion picture based upon a book. If you create a derivative work with the Permission of the owner of the underlying work, you as the author of the derivative work can obtain a copyright covering the original material you contributed.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHT: A Copyright Owner owns all or any one of the "exclusive rights" of copyright in a work. Those rights are listed in Section 106 of the United States Copyright Act and include the right to (1) reproduce the work, (2) prepare Derivative Works of it, (3) distribute copies of it, (4) perform it publicly and (5) display it publicly.
EXPRESSION: The words you use to tell a story, the picture that you paint, and the lyrics to a song you wrote are all types of "expression." Until you set these things down on paper or in a Recording, they are nothing more than ideas. Ideas in and of themselves are not protectable by copyright, only the way they are expressed is protected. The copyright law protects expression only when it is Fixed in a way that others can read or see it.
FAIR USE: "Fair use" is the right of the public to make reasonable use of copyrighted material in special circumstances without the Copyright Owner's Permission. The United States Copyright Act recognizes that fair use of a copyrighted work may be used "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research." Factors to be considered include (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is for a commercial purpose or is for non-profit educational purposes; (2) what kind of work is the copyrighted work (for instance, is it creative or factual); (3) the amount and importance of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential commercial market for or value of the copyrighted work. Whether or not a fair use has been made of a copyrighted work is not always easy to determine and there have been many lawsuits to determine whether or not a use is "fair." Where there is doubt about whether something qualifies for the fair use exception, you should request a License from the Copyright Holder.
Below are some examples of cases involving the defense of fair use:
1. The court held that a book of trivia questions about the "Seinfeld" TV program was not fair use. Although the book was transformative, the TV program was a work of fiction accorded special status under copyright law. The book drew upon essential elements of the TV program, and occupied a market for a derivative work that the Copyright Holder was entitled to control. Castle Rock Entertainment v. Carol Pub. Group, Inc., 955 F. Supp. 260 (S.D.N.Y. 1997), aff'd, 150 F.3d 132 (2d Cir. 1998).
2. The court held that the use in a TV biography about Muhammed Ali of up to 14 film clips of historical footage, each between 41 seconds and two minutes long, was likely to be fair use. Ali was a public figure and his TV biography was the subject of public interest. The allegedly Infringing film clips were not the focus of documentary and were not particularly noticeable, and use of the film clips was not likely to the undercut market for a motion picture. Monster Communications, Inc. v. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., 935 F. Supp. 490 (S.D.N.Y. 1996).
3. The court held that a parody of the song "I Love New York" performed in a skit on "Saturday Night Live" poking fun at New York City's public relations campaign and its theme song was a protected fair use. Elsmere Music, Inc. v. NBC, 623 F.2d 252 (2d Cir. 1980).
4. The court held that that use of copyrighted music played during a parade that happened to be televised by ABC was a fair use. Italian Book Corp. v. ABC, Inc., 458 F. Supp. 65 (S.D.N.Y 1978).
FIRST SALE DOCTRINE: The "first sale" doctrine recognizes that ownership of a copyright is different from ownership of a material object that is the subject of a copyright. For example, owning a copy of the book "The Catcher in the Rye" does not mean that you own the copyright in the story. Under the first sale doctrine, the owner of a lawfully-made copy of a copyrighted work may sell, rent or transfer that copy or publicly display that copy without the Copyright Owner's Permission. That means you can buy a book or a videotape and give it to friend or sell it at a yard sale, but you cannot make a copy of that book or videotape and sell or give that copy away. But note that there is an exception to the first sale doctrine for the rental of Sound Recordings and computer programs. To rent copies of copyrighted sound recordings or computer programs, you must get permission from the copyright owner. A hot issue these days is whether the first sale doctrine should apply at all to the Internet and other digital media where owners of lawfully-made copies of works can transmit copies of those works and still keep their lawfully-made copies.
FIXATION: A work is not entitled to copyright protection until it is "fixed in a tangible medium." For example, a song that has been created and even performed but which has never been written out in sheet music or recorded has no copyright.
IDEA: Section 102 (b) of the United States Copyright Act states:
In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which is described, explained, illustrated or embodied in such a work. Ideas, methods, concepts, systems and devices are not entitled to copyright protection.
This language means that no one can monopolize an idea or subject matter under a claim of copyright. Put another way, copyright law protects the Expression of an idea but not the idea itself. Can you imagine if the people who were the first to write stories about a girl wanting to play basketball or about a boy and a girl falling in love were able to stop everyone else from writing stories about those subjects? It would make it really hard to create original works and would defeat the purpose of the copyright law, which is to promote the progress of the arts and to secure for the public the benefit of authors' creative activities.
INFRINGEMENT: Under Section 501 of the United States Copyright Act, anyone who violates any of the Exclusive Rights of the Copyright Owner is a copyright "infringer." To prove copyright infringement, the plaintiff must show (1) that the defendant (the alleged infringer) copied from the original author's (the plaintiff) work, either by actually copying plaintiff's work or by having plaintiff's work in mind when the defendant composed his work, and (2) that, taken together, the elements copied by the defendant amount to "too much" in terms of quantity and importance, and that the audiences for the two works will see the similarities between defendant's work and the protected elements in the plaintiff's work.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: The term "Intellectual Property" refers to all kinds of intangible (not physical) types of property that people can own. Unlike physical property, Intellectual Properties are solely creations of law and have no independent existence. Intellectual Property under U.S. law encompasses rights in copyrights, patents, Trademarks, as well as Trade Secrets, Rights of Publicity and Moral Rights. For more information on Patents and Trademarks follow this link to the website for the US Patent and Trademark Office. Where copyrights and patents are governed solely by federal law in the US, trademarks are governed by both state and federal law, and trade secrets and rights of publicity solely by state law.
LICENSE: In order to exercise one or more of the Exclusive Rights of copyright, you need a "license" from the Copyright Owner. The license is the permission granted by a copyright owner (also know as the "licensor") to the person requesting the right to exercise one or more of these exclusive rights (also know as the "licensee"). For example, if you wanted to create a movie based on a book (which would be a Derivative Work), you would need a license from the owner of copyright in the book. A license is usually subject to certain restrictions or conditions. For example, the licensor may require the licensee to submit materials for review and approval by the licensor and to make certain payments or Royalties to the licensor. A license is often limited to a specific time period and often to a specific geographic territory or language. If you wanted to have an exclusive license (you're the only one who could do what you're getting permission to do), the license would have to be in writing. If you simply wanted permission to create the derivative work and didn't care if others could do the same thing (a non-exclusive license), the license would not have to be in writing. But remember, it's always better to get it in writing!
MASTER USE LICENSE: A "master use license" is an agreement by which the Copyright Owner of a Sound Recording (usually, the record company) grants Permission to someone else to use the Sound Recording in a visual work. For example, if a recording is used as background music for a movie or television commercial, the producer will need to get a master use license from the record company (or other copyright owner). Note that the producer also has to get a Synchronization License from the copyright owner of the song itself (also called the Musical Composition).
MECHANICAL LICENSE: Under the United States Copyright Act, the right to use copyrighted songs in making Sound Recordings for distribution to the public for private use is one of the Exclusive Rights of the Copyright Owner. However, the Copyright Act provides that once a copyright owner has recorded and distributed such a work to the public in the United States or permitted someone else to do so, a "compulsory mechanical license" is available to anyone else who wants to record and distribute the work in the United States. The mechanical license will require that person to pay license fees at the "compulsory" rate set in Section 115 of the Copyright Act. The "compulsory" royalty rate as of January 1, 2000 is $0.0755 per use for Musical Compositions that are 5 minutes or less and the rate is $0.0145 per minute of playing time for compositions over 5 minutes.
MEDIUM: A "medium" is a type of artistic technique or means of Expression related to the materials used or the creative methods involved in the production of the work. The plural form of medium is "media" and paintings, films, books, TV, and the internet are all examples of different media.
MORAL RIGHTS: Under U.S. federal law, "moral rights" are certain rights given to artists who have created visual works of art (such as, a painting or sculpture) to protect the integrity of her name and works. The rights are set forth in the Section 106A of the United States Copyright Act. The artist has the right (1) to claim authorship of her work, (2) to prevent others from using her name in connection with a work she did not create or a work that has been distorted or mutilated, and (3) to prevent any intentional distortion, mutilation or destruction of her work.
MUSICAL COMPOSITION: A "musical composition" is a musical work, such as a song or piano piece, created by a composer using melody (tones and rhythms), harmony (chords), and lyrics. A musical composition is not in audible form; it is the combined notes and lyrics written on sheet music. A recorded, audible version of a musical composition is a Sound Recording. A musical composition can be very long, like a Beethoven symphony, or can be a single song.
PARODY: There is no exact definition for what a "parody" is under the copyright law. A parody involves the use of elements of a previously existing work in a new work that, at least in part, comments on or criticizes the previously existing work and is usually meant to be funny. A parody of a copyrighted work can be a Fair Use. However, just because something is funny (like taking the melody of an existing song and writing funny lyrics to that melody) does not necessarily mean it is a parody.
1. A print advertisement for the movie, "Naked Gun: The Final Insult 33 1/3," featured the body of an eight-month pregnant female model with male star Leslie Nielsen's face. The background, lighting, pose and other features of the movie advertisement were similar to a controversial photograph of the actress, Demi Moore, taken when she was eight months pregnant. Plaintiff, a well known photographer who shot the Demi Moore photograph, sued the movie studio for copyright Infringement. Upon analysis of the Fair Use factors, the court found that the advertisement was a parody and a fair use of plaintiff's copyrighted photograph. Leibovitz v. Paramount Pictures Corporation, 948 F. Supp. 1214 (S.D.N.Y. 1996), aff'd, 137 F.3d 109 (2d Cir. 1998).
2. The rap group, 2 Live Crew, wrote a rap song called "Pretty Woman," which drew heavily on the song "Pretty Woman" written by Roy Orbison, but the 2 Live Crew version used shocking and graphic lyrics instead of the more innocent words of the Orbison song. 2 Live Crew was sued for copyright Infringement by the Owner of the Copyright in the Orbison version of the song. Both the original trail court and the United States Supreme Court found that the rap song was a parody and a Fair Use. The United States Supreme Court said that it refused to "indulge a presumption" that all commercial uses of copyrighted works are unfair. Campbell v. Acuff-Rose, 510 US 569, 114 S.Ct. 1164, 127 L.Ed. 2d 500 (1994).
PATENT: A "patent" is a type of Intellectual Property that relates to inventions. Like Copyright, patents give the creators of inventions a certain "bundle of rights," including the exclusive rights to (1) make copies of the invention, (2) use the invention for whatever purposes it was intended, (3) import copies of the invention, (4) sell copies of the invention, and (5) offer copies of the invention for sale, all for up to 20 years. Inventions protected by patents include computer hardware, medicines, hybridized roses, and the design of athletic shoes or a bicycle helmet.
PERFORMING RIGHTS: An owner of a copyright has many Exclusive Rights, including the right to perform his or her own song (the Musical Composition) in public. These rights are known as "performing rights," and other users need Permission of the Copyright Owner to play the song on the radio or television, or in clubs, concerts, and amusement parks. Usually, the user is charged a fee called a Royalty. To make this easier, organizations called "performing rights societies" help control and collect the royalties paid for these performances on behalf of the songwriter or other copyright owners. There are 3 main societies in the United States that do this: ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers), BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated), and SESAC. Most foreign countries also have organizations that serve the same purpose.
PERMISSION: In order to exercise one or more of the Exclusive Rights of copyright, you need a get permission from the Copyright Owner. That permission is called a License, by which a copyright owner grants the right to exercise one or more of these rights to another person or company. For example, if you wanted to record your own version of a song written by someone else (which would be a Derivative Work), you would need a license from the owner of copyright in the song to record it.
PUBLIC DOMAIN: Works that are in the public domain belong to everyone and can be freely used without compensating the authors. There are many reasons why a work may be in the public domain. For example, works consisting entirely of information that is commonly available and that contain no original authorship are in the public domain. Works that previously were entitled to copyright protection enter the public domain when the Term of the copyright has expired. Under the 1909 Copyright Act, if a work was published without a Copyright Notice, protection was lost and the work entered the public domain when it was first Published.
PUBLICATION/PUBLISH: To "publish" a work means to distribute copies of that work to the public. The act of publishing is referred to as "publication" and sometimes a published work is referred to as the "publication." For example, the publication of a book involves a publisher distributing copies of the book to the public, usually through bookstores and other types of resellers and distributors. A film is published when it is shown in theater or on TV. The Copyright Owner controls this right to distribute -- or publish -- copies of the work, but typically Licenses this right of distribution to a publisher. Other examples of publications include newspapers and magazines.
RIGHT OF PUBLICITY: The "right of publicity" is a right under state law (as opposed to under federal law like copyright) that every person has the right to control the commercial use of his or her identity. For example, an advertiser may not use a famous person's picture to endorse a product without getting the famous person's permission to do so. The scope of the right of publicity varies from state to state, and some states have held that only celebrities, and not ordinary people, have a right of publicity.
ROYALTY: In exchange for a License to do something with a copyrighted work, the person who wants to use the work (referred to as the "licensee") will usually have to pay a certain amount of money, called a "royalty," to the Copyright Owner or other person licensing out the work (referred to as the "licensor"). For example, if the author of a book licenses the right to a company to make and sell a software game based on the book, the author may require the company to pay him 15% of the money it receives from sales of the software game.
SERVICE MARK: A "service mark" is any word, name, symbol or device used by a person or a company to identify and distinguish its services (as opposed to products, which are covered by Trademarks) from the services of others in the same business. Titles, character names, and other distinctive features of advertisements (including songs) may be registered as service marks of the person or company who offers the services advertised. For example, McDonald's owns the service mark "We love to see you smile" used in their commercials.
SOUND RECORDING: A "sound recording" describes the capturing of a musical performance and its sounds in any format, such as a cassette tape, compact disc (CD), or MP3 file. In copyright law, this is often referred to as the "Fixation" of sound. Copying a recording, such as making a cassette tape from a friend's CD or burning a CD from another disc, is among the rights covered by copyright law.
STATUTORY DAMAGES: A Copyright Owner, who brings a case for the Infringement of a work that has been registered with the United States Copyright Office, may ask the court for "statutory damages" instead of actual damages and lost profits. The "statutory damages" will be decided by the court but must be between $200 - $150,000 for all infringements of each work. The amount the court will award will depend, in part, on whether the infringer knew he or she was infringing the copyrighted work.
SYNCHRONIZATION LICENSE: A "synchronization license" is an agreement by which the Copyright Owner of Musical Composition allows its use in a visual work. For example, a song is used as background music for a movie or a television commercial. Note that, when a License is obtained to use a Sound Recording of a song, it is called a Master Use License.
TERM: Copyright protection does not last forever. A copyright has a "term" or length, depending on when the work itself was created. For works created after January 1, 1978, the term of copyright is the life of the author plus 70 years or, if the work is a Work-for-Hire, the term is 95 years from first Publication or 120 years from creation, whichever expires first. For works published or registered prior to January 1978, the term of copyright is 95 years.
TITLE: Generally the title of a literary work or of a song is not entitled to copyright protection. However, some courts are recognizing that a well-known title may deserve protection under other theories such as Trademark or unfair competition where the title has become well-known and there is a strong connection with a certain product or company in the mind of the public (such as "Gone With The Wind").
TRADEMARK: A "trademark" is any word, name, symbol or device used by a person or a company to identify and distinguish its products (as opposed to services, which are covered by Service Marks) from the products of others in the same business. Titles, character names, and other distinctive features of advertisements (including songs) may be registered as trademarks of the person or company who offers the products advertised. For example, the shape of the Coca-Cola bottle and the Nike swoosh are both trademarks.
TRADE SECRET: A "trade secret" is any piece of information which a person or company uses in its business and protects as secret. Trade secrets give businesses a competitive edge and if its competitors had access to the information, such access would harm the trade secret owner's business. State law prevents others from taking and using trade secrets. For instance, the recipe for making Coke has been kept as a trade secret by the Coca-Cola Company for almost a century. If it didn't keep the recipe secret, others could make Coke too and the Coca-Cola Company would lose a lot of sales.
WORK-FOR-HIRE: A "work for-hire" is either (1) a work prepared by an employee as part of her work, in which case the employer owns the copyright in the work, or (2) a work specially commissioned or ordered as a contribution to a Collective Work or Compilation, in which case the person or company commissioning or ordering the work owns the copyright in the work.