Copyright Fair Use & Creative Commons

“The difficulty in claiming fair use is that there is no predictable way to guarantee that your use will actually qualify as a fair use. You may believe that your use qualifies–but, if the copyright owner disagrees, you may have to resolve the dispute in a courtroom. Even if you ultimately persuade the court that your use was in fact a fair use, the expense and time involved in litigation may well outweigh any benefit of using the material in the first place.”

– Stanford Copyright & Fair Use, Online Library 2009

It is for this reason and others, that copyrights do not really benefit average people. Copyright laws benefit large corporations, as they are the only ones that can easily afford the court costs involved in defending copyrights. Poor people cannot afford the time or money it would take to defend their material, if it is stolen by anyone.

The benefits of Fair Use and Creative Commons for civilization, far out-weigh the problems of copyrights for common people. The best way of living is sharing what you create, so that others will share with you. If someone steals your work and uses it in a way you do not like, there is a more natural solution usually than suing. If it is your work, put it out there. Making your work public as soon as possible, is in essence the definition of publishing something. Proof that the work is yours, with a certifiable date, is all one really needs to discredit theft.

If it is a matter of someone else selling your work, and does not want to negotiate, find out how much they are selling it for, and how they are selling it, and then compete with them using free-market Capitalism. If all competition and negotiation fails, call the Press and tell your story to the world. If public opinion does not convince them to pay you what you deserve, and force them to give you control of the product, its not worth pursuing legally anyway.

***

Legal Copyright Information from The United States Copyright Office

Circular 34
Copyright Protection Not Available for Names, Titles, or Short Phrases
Copyright law does not protect names, titles, or short phrases or expressions. Even 
if a name, title, or short phrase is novel or distinctive or lends itself to a play on 
words, it cannot be protected by copyright. The Copyright Office cannot register 
claims to exclusive rights in brief combinations of words such as:
•	 Names of products or services
•	 Names of businesses, organizations, or groups (including the names of
performing groups)
•	 Pseudonyms of individuals (including pen or stage names)
•	 Titles of works
•	 Catchwords, catchphrases, mottoes, slogans, or short advertising expressions
•	 Listings of ingredients, as in recipes, labels, or formulas. When a recipe or
formula is accompanied by an explanation or directions, the text directions 
may be copyrightable, but the recipe or formula itself remains uncopyrightable.
Subject Matter of Copyright
Under section 102 of the Copyright Act (title 17 of the U.S. Code), copyright 
protection extends only to “original works of authorship.” The statute states
clearly that ideas and concepts cannot be protected by copyright. To be 
protected by copyright, a work must contain a certain minimum amount
of authorship in the form of original literary, musical, pictorial, or graphic 
expression. Names, titles, and other short phrases do not meet these
requirements.
Copyright Office Records
The titles of registered works appear alphabetically in the indexes and catalogs
of the Copyright Office. But the presence of a title in the Office’s registration 
records does not mean that the title itself is copyrighted or subject to copyright 
protection. Entirely different works can have the same or similar titles.
To search Copyright Office registration records and recordation information 
on monographs, serials, and documents from 1978 forward, visit the Office’s
website at www.copyright.gov.
*
Trademark and Unfair Competition Laws
Some brand names, trade names, slogans, and phrases may 
be entitled to protection under laws relating to unfair 
competition, or they may be entitled to protection and 
registration under the provisions of state or federal trademark
laws. The federal trademark statute covers trademarks and
service marks—words, phrases, symbols, or designs that
distinguish the goods or services of one party from those of 
another. The Copyright Office has no role in these matters.
For information about trademarks, contact
Commissioner for Trademarks
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
P.O. Box 1451
Alexandria, VA 22313-1451
(800) 786-9199
TrademarkAssistanceCenter@uspto.gov
www.uspto.gov

 

 

 

 

 

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