Photo Credit: legal123.com.au

As a crafter you have most likely encountered the words “Copyright Infringement” during your travels. What really is copyright infringement and why should you be concerned with it?

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Copyrightable work can be literary based, musical, dramatic works, pictorial, graphic, sound recordings, motion pictures, computer programs, compilations of works, and architectural based. Infringing upon any copyright provided under the federal Copyright Act can happen in form of reproduction, distribution, public display, performance, or derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner. Doing so is considered a violation.

According to the United States Copyright Law, fair use is allowed in brief excerpts of material to be used verbatim when it comes to criticism, news reporting, teaching, or research without the necessary permission or payment to the copyright holder.

Rights to the Copyright Holder

Becoming a copyright holder allows the following exclusive rights to be provided to you.

1. Reproduction of Work.
2. Distribution of Work.
3. Creation of Derivative Work.
4. Public Performance of the Work.
5. Public Display of the Work.
6. Public Performance of Sound Recordings by Digital Audio Transmission.

Rights to copyright are protected for the term of the life of the copyright holder plus 70 years. If the copyright holder is corporate based, protection is granted for the shorter of 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation.

Copyright Infringement Legal Penalties

Penalties for committing copyright infringement can result in the following charges and sentence.

• Pay the dollar amount of incurred damages and profits.
• Penalized $200 to $150,000 for each work infringed.
• Pay all attorney fees and court costs.
• Issue an injunction to stop the infringing act.
• Impound the illegal works.
• Go to jail.

5 Facts to Copyright Infringement

1. It is commonly believed that a piece of work loses its protection once it is posted online for public viewing. There could be nothing further from the truth as the copyright holder is granted permission to place their work on public display. As a viewer, you are not allowed to copy or post someone else’s images without their permission.

2. You must first receive the permission of the copyright holder to use their work or cite any material from their site. You cannot use someone else’s work just because you provide them a link back or mention credit. Some websites may mention the availability of their material with appropriate credit given, however it is always better to get permission first.

3. Some individuals believe that if a work is altered, they are not performing copyright infringement. Original works that are changed are still protected as derivative works obtained by material that is protected. Exceptions may exist for those writing reviews or critiquing. This protection falls under fair use.

4. A copyright symbol does not need to be present to be freely used and receive protection. The moment the work is created, the material is considered copyrighted.

5. It is also believed that you can use someone else’s work as long as you do not financially profit from it. Weather you financially gain or not from reproducing copyright material, it does not constitute as a right to violate. If financial returns are made, those are taken into consideration by a court however the action of infringement is still present and prosecutable in other ways.


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