Made a few notes from what I have from my Laws/Ethics Computer Class… I even did my term paper on this, but I was rusty on the details. Primary source is from 2012, so take that with a grain of salt. I’m going to be doing an assignment with copyright infringement for my Forensics class in the next few days, and I’m going to take advantage of that to look a little more into it. 

–“Literary work” does not require any sort of ‘skill.’ It applies even to e-mails and blogs.
–Original + Fixed in a tangible medium. [Author can claim copyright for similar/identical preexisting works that they created. i.e. a business logo being altered. Uncertain whether or not the copyright registration extends to similar works. Going to double check.]
–Ebooks/Digital Works do qualify. [“work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.”]
–Registration is not required. “Copyright protection ‘subsists’ from the moment of creation. This means that the instant a work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression, that work is protected by federal copyright law without the need for any action on the part of the author. (Ferrera et al. 2012)”
–A copyright NOTICE i.e. (c) for works published after 1989 is not required. However, it can serve as a warning to others and prevent infringers from defending based on “innocent infringement.” This notice must have: copyright sign, abbreviation, or word “copyright.” + date of first publication + copyright owner’s name.
–Copyright confers 6 exclusive rights: reproduction, preparation of derivative works (book to movie); distribution of copies to the public (selling/renting); public performance; public display; public performance via digital audio.
–However, registering has benefits: Can file for infringement actions in federal court; copyright owner (if registered PRIOR TO infringement) can collect statutory damages (up to $150k/work)/attorney fees; can be recorded with Customs to prevent “importation of infringing articles into the United States.”
–“For works made for hire and anonymous and pseudonymous works, the duration of copyright is 95 years from first publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter (unless the author’s identity is later revealed in Copyright Office records, in which case the term becomes the author’s life plus 70 years) (US Copyright Office n.d.).” 
–This might be interesting… the First Sale Doctrine “the owner of a particular copy of a copyrighted work may resell or otherwise dispose of that copy without the permission of the copyright owner.” With digital items, this is a little different. “When it comes to the digital world, first sale is already under attack. Copyright holders are trying to undermine our first sale rights by forcing users to license items they would rather buy. The copyright industry wants you to “license” all your music, your movies, your games — and lose your rights to sell them or modify them as you see fit.” [Electronic Frontier Foundation] Interesting considering Amazon simply licenses ebooks to readers. This might have something to do with it.
By the way, to tell you how seriously the government might take this… Jammie Thomas-Rassett had downloaded 24 songs in Kazaa. The damages equaled $1.92 million.

PS, as a compulsive editor, I found this useful: “How much do I have to change in my own work to make a new claim of copyright? You may make a new claim in your work if the changes are substantial and creative, something more than just editorial changes or minor changes. This would qualify as a new derivative work. For instance, simply making spelling corrections throughout a work does not warrant a new registration, but adding an additional chapter would. See Circular 14, Copyright Registration in Derivative Works and Compilations, for further information (U.S. Copyright Office, n.d.).”


Electronic Frontier Foundation. n.d. “You’ve Been Owned: Stand Up For Digital First Sale.” Accessed January 2, 2017.

Ferrera, Gerald R., Margo E.K. Reder, Robert C. Bird, Jonathan J. Darrow, Jeffrey M. Aresty, Jacqueline Klosek, Stephen D. Lichtenstein. 2012. Cyberlaw Text & Cases. Mason, Ohio: South-Western, Cengage Learning

United States Copyright Office. n.d. “Registering a Work.” Accessed January 3. 2017.

–. n.d. “Duration of Copyright.” Accessed January 2, 2017.

–. n.d. “Copyright in General.” Accessed January 3, 2017.

Other Websites for Reference re: DMCA

The DMCA Takedown Notice Demystified


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