Your Copyright Rights

When you create a work of art, your work is automatically protected with copyright rights, even without registering an official copyright claim with the Copyright Office. Oftentimes, we have to learn about copyright laws when our copyright has been infringed upon. This week’s blog post educated you on the 5 basic rights to your intellectual property. 

  1. The right to reproduce the copyrighted work by any means
  2. Prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work
  3. Distribute copies or phono records of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership or by rental, lease or lending
  4. Perform the work publicly  
  5. Display the copyrighted works publicly 

With these 5 rights you own the copyright to your intellectual property which includes all: literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic works and pantomimes, motion pictures and other audio visual, pictorial, graphic, and sculptural, sound recordings and architectural works. 

You are in control of how you use and distribute your rights, meaning you can assign, transfer, license or convey one or more of these rights to anyone you want for any length of time. But these rights only apply when your intellectual property exists not when its still an idea.

Even when you sell a work of art, you own the copyright and the bundle of rights that comes with creating the original (unless in specific writing states that you have transferred your rights to the owner). Owning the work of art does not transfer the rights. But be careful when signing contracts and agreements. Read the copyright section carefully. Often independent contract or work for hire jobs take the rights to your copyright. 

Resources & Notes: 

Further legal information can be found in the Copyright Revision Act of 1976 or assistance from an attorney.

The Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts offers free to low-cost affordable legal assistance for artist. Refer to the VLA directory to locate assistance in your state.

If you are looking to learn more about copyright, the Copyright Law of the United States has a helpful but technical document. 

Information in this blog post in regards to copyright was referenced from Art Law in a Nutshell

Please note that artists who created and published work between January 1st 1976 and March 1 1989 there are specific outlines on how a copyright applies and bear notice. Refer to Section 401 of the 1976 Act for more information. 

2 Comments on “Your Copyright Rights”

  1. The BBC states that Wings violated their copyright and that they asked YouTube to take down the offending videos. Since these have since been reinstated does that mean that there was no infringement of copyright and that the BBC were wrong to ask YouTube to take down those videos? Either they infringed copyright and should not be shown or they didn”t and should never have been removed? Or was the BBC just being overzealous in trying to remove anything posted by a site that supports independence or which shows Unionists in a bad light???

    1. Hi Valkirias, Thanks for the good questions! I am not too clear on how/if the copyright laws differ between the States and the UK, I have not been following this case, and I should also mention I am not a lawyer…. but here info I found. (I included links to the sources I referred to since not sure what their editorial biases are).

      It sound the videos were reinstated online, which means that there was no infringement. “The reversal means a YouTube channel run by the blogger has been reinstated with immediate effect. And 13 videos that had been reported by the BBC for allegedly infringing copyright laws will also be reinstated while the review is carried out, the BBC said. (cited at: https://inews.co.uk/news/media/wings-over-scotland-back-on-youtube-after-bbc-gives-ground-in-copyright-row/). An article on August 3rd also announced Wings won the argument, “A blogger who supports the SNP has won a battle with the BBC over copyright of videos uploaded to YouTube.” thus also suggesting that there was no copyright infringement (Cited at: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/pro-independence-blogger-wins-bbc-copyright-row-fmqxcg60f)

      Also a BBC posted an article that claimed that Youtube had a 3 strikes policy where after three notifications of infringement, the material is taken down automatically. So just notifications/flagged material will take down content regardless if it actually is copyright infringement or not. (Cited at: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-45030773). It also sounded like a 3rd party may have been involved in notifying of the suspected copyright which could of caused the quick action and video removal. “…BBC did not ask or demand for these whole channels to be taken down – that was a decision for YouTube alone.” (Cited at: https://inews.co.uk/news/media/wings-over-scotland-back-on-youtube-after-bbc-gives-ground-in-copyright-row).

      With most legal cases, there is a lot at play: fair dealing exemption, Youtube use policy, copyright issues or suspected infringement, corporate bias, possible censorship of pro-independence etc. Also having a copyright issue between the BBC and a popular political blogger is bound to become popular in the media. I don’t know if this was helpful but thanks for sharing this case, copyright infringement is always an interesting topic and important to be educated on.

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