If you want to go beyond these rules of thumb to learn more about the details, Cornell Law School has an excellent chart that shows when different types of works (published, unpublished, published outside the United States) fall into the public domain based on a copyright analysis before and after 1978. In addition, the Creative Commons Podcasting Legal Guide provides an excellent discussion of how to determine if a work is in the public domain. Another interesting copyright issue is the scope of copyright protection for pictorial or sculptural works that constitute a useful article. Take, for example, a painting of a futuristic-looking automobile. Copyright protection would prevent the full copy of the table. In addition, copyright would prevent the creation of a three-dimensional model of the automobile found in the table. However, under the specific provisions of the Copyright Act, copyright would not prevent General Motors from producing a functional (i.e., utility) automobile of the design listed on the table. An example is the best way to explain this distinction between idea and expression. Suppose an inventor discovers a cold fusion process – an invention that would revolutionize society as we know it. If the inventor wrote a description of the process on paper, that description would be protected against copyright infringement from the moment the work was repaired. If she published her work, no one would be able to make additional copies of the document without her permission. However, anyone who reads his work could implement his process without fear of copyright infringement, since the process itself – the idea – is not protected by copyright.
In fact, someone would even be allowed to write a competing work describing their invention, provided that the competing work describes the invention in its own words and does not take a „sentence” from the original article. However, only the inventor could apply for patent protection for her process. After filing the patent and a rigorous examination of the patentability of his patent, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office could grant him a patent. At this point, she was able to prevent everyone from using her idea. (For more information on patent protection, see the BitLaw discussion on patents). You can use any U.S. government work, as copyright does not cover those works. In December 1994, Congress amended the Law on Unrecorded Musical Performances when it adopted the Uruguay Round Agreements Act. This legislation included a new provision prohibiting the recording of live music performances (i.e., counterfeit copies), even if there was no other „fixation” of the work. This provision contains separate prohibitions on the distribution and transmission of counterfeit copies. In fact, the prohibition on transmission does not even require that a physical copy of the service never be made.
While this law appears to create an exception to the copyright fixation requirement, it is probably best understood as an independent right similar to copyright, but not copyright. You may use any work in the public domain without obtaining permission from the copyright owner. A work falls into the public domain at the end of the copyright period or, in the case of works published between 1923 and 1989, when the work has lost copyright protection because the copyright owner has not taken the necessary measures under the then applicable copyright law. In addition, a copyright owner may dedicate a work directly to the public domain. This is done explicitly, through phrases such as „Everything on this website in which we own the copyright is hereby published in the public domain” or through the use of the Creative Commons public domain dedication. You may want to use someone else`s work or incorporate it into your own. Although the works of others may be protected by copyright, there is a category of works that do not fall within the scope of copyright. The following categories of works are not protected by copyright, regardless of when they were created and whether or not they bear a copyright notice. However, there may be situations where a compilation of facts may be protected if the author of the original publication selected, coordinated or ordered the facts in an original manner.
For example, a sports almanac can organize baseball scores creatively, a genealogy chart can organize dates of birth in an original way, or a cookbook can organize ingredients creatively and originally as part of their recipes. In each of these cases, the creator of the work would have a copyright in the creative arrangement of the facts, but not in the facts themselves. Of course, brand names, slogans and expressions used in connection with a product or service may be eligible for trademark protection (see BitLaw Trademark Discussion for more information). In fact, a number of books, all under the same title, can even create trademark protection for that title. Ideas, procedures, principles, discoveries and devices are expressly excluded from copyright protection. As stipulated in the Copyright Act: titles, names, short sentences and slogans are not protected by copyright. It is also clear that copyright does not protect simple labels or dyes of products or the mere listing of ingredients or product content. The exclusion of this type of material is not an exception to copyright, but simply an application of copyright protection requirements. To be protected by copyright, a work must contain at least a minimum of authorship in the form of an original expression. Names, titles, and other short sentences are simply too small to meet these requirements. For this reason, you will often see books and movies with the same title.
Some distinctions are clear. For example, a painting on the side of a truck is protected by copyright, although the truck is a useful element. The paint is clearly separable from the utilitarian aspects of the truck. The overall shape of the truck, on the other hand, would not be protected by copyright, as the shape is an essential part of the truck`s advantage. Another frequently considered example is that of clothing. The imprint that can be found on the fabric of a skirt or jacket is protected by copyright because it exists regardless of the utilitarian nature of the garment. However, there is no copyright on the cut of the fabric or the design of the skirt or jacket as a whole, as these items are functional. This is true even for imaginative costumes; No copyright protection is granted for the costume as a whole.
Determining whether a particular work is in the public domain is a complex task, and the answer often depends on when the work was published, whether it was published with notice, and whether the copyright owner subsequently registered the work. However, there are some rules of thumb that will help you in this analysis: One consequence of the thought-expression dichotomy is that there is no copyright protection in the basic facts. A fact, such as George Washington`s birthday or the pope`s address and phone number, is considered synonymous with the idea. It doesn`t matter how much effort has gone into discovering a particular fact. Even though it took two years of research to discover a fact, the fact is still not protected by copyright. It is possible that a compilation of facts as a compilation is protectable as long as the compilation requires a minimum of originality (see the BitLaw discussion on compilation copyright for more information). In general, copyright does not protect words, short sentences and individual slogans; familiar symbols or designs; or simple variations of typographic ornaments, lettering or colouring; simple listing of ingredients or content. (However, copyright protection may be present if the artwork of the symbol or design contains sufficient creativity.) A second, less expected outcome of the dichotomy between idea and expression is the inability to obtain copyright protection for empty forms. Although graphic or literary elements found on a form (for example. B, a photo or a detailed explanation of a term) are subject to copyright protection, there is no copyright on the blank form itself. .