When can you use someone’s copyrighted material? What if someone infringes your copyright? This article answers more of your copyright FAQs.
This article is the second in a two-part series on copyright. Read Part 1 here.
When can you use someone’s copyrighted material?
There are a few exceptions where the use of copyrighted material is allowed:
- Fair dealing: This means you are able to use it without asking permission from the owner where the work is being used for research or when you are writing a critique or review. But you must always acknowledge the owner.
- Statutory license: The government and educational institutions can use copyrighted work without the owner’s permission; however, the owner can claim ‘fair’ payment for the work.
- Express permission: This is where you have been granted specific permission to re-use the ‘work’ from the copyright owner for an agreed purpose. In this case, get permission in writing or by email.
- Creative Commons License: Copyright owners can offer a global license to give people permission to use their material at no cost.
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What can you do if someone infringes your copyright?
What if you see your image, photo, article, design, etc. being used by someone else, a company or a website? First, contact them and ask them to remove the offending material. Sometimes they don’t realise it belongs to another person or they thought they wouldn’t get caught!
If it’s a website and they ignore your request, you can go to the domain host and make a formal request to have the material removed, or even request the site be closed down. You should provide evidence that you have already contacted the website owner directly. In general, domain-hosting companies do not want to be seen permitting any illegal activity, so they normally have a process to follow to have your copyrighted work removed.
If, after your request for removal, the individual, company or website still does nothing, you should issue them with a formal Copyright Infringement Notice, which you can obtain from a lawyer. In some instances, you can also request payment for fees and any revenue received by the person infringing your copyright.
… And be proactive
Unfortunately you cannot avoid people ignoring copyright rules and using your work for their own benefit. The internet and connected world is growing so fast the regulations are struggling to keep up.
The best thing to do is keep track of your work and register it where you can to ensure the maximum protection. Posting clear copyright notices and terms on your work and business website may also deter infringers from ‘stealing’ your material. If you sell your work, ensure that all copyright notices and ownership of the work are clearly marked and noted.
And make sure you know the rules, so you don’t breach anyone else’s copyright!
Are you clear on your copyright protection and obligations? What are your copyright FAQs?