Copyright infringement: 5 myths vs facts [Infographic]

- October 8, 2018 3 MIN READ

If you run a website or post to social media, you are probably breaching copyright, and don’t even know it! There are lots of myths circulating about internet copyright infringement. Vanessa Emilio from Legal123 has designed this simple infographic.

Copywrite Infringements

This infographic is designed to help website owners avoid copyright infringement and protect themselves by better understanding the rules.

Internet Copyright Infringement
Source: Copyright Infringement: Myths vs Facts from

Use this Infographic on your website

You are welcome to share this Infographic as long as you only use it for personal (not commercial i.e. money making) purposes and you give attribution to Legal123. Download a PDF version of this Infographic here.

Here’s a video explaining online Copyright Infringement

Video transcript

There are a lot of Copyright myths, misinformation and misunderstandings out there at the moment – particularly when it comes to Copyright Infringement on the Internet. So to help website owners, we designed this simple Infographic to explain what you need to know about Copyright, how not to breach Copyright and how to protect yourself from any Copyright Infringement.

Copyright belongs to the person who created a ‘work’. A ‘work’ can be a photograph, image, words, song, tagline, music, article, software code or anything you create yourself, from scratch. Any such material, or ‘work’, has automatic protection for the creator without the need for registration.

First Myth: Once a ‘work’ is posted online it loses Copyright protection.

The fact is, copyright infringement exists in the ‘work’ from the moment it is created and does not lose its protection, even if it’s not registered, no matter where it is posted or how it is used. You cannot use or post anyone else’s photographs, images, words, songs, taglines, music, articles etc. without their express permission.

Second Myth: You can copy someone’s ‘work’ online, provided you link back to them.

This is not correct. Even if you credit them, this is not, in many cases, enough or acceptable – you need to check with the owner of the ‘work’ first. There is no implied permission, so you cannot assume they are OK with it. Now some websites DO state that you can use certain material, provided you link back to them and give them credit. But you should check first, unless permission is specifically granted for the ‘work’ or item you want to repost or use.

Third Myth: If you alter or change the ‘work’ or only use a part or portion of it, you are not breaching Copyright.

This is false, at least in most cases. All use, whether in part or in a derivative form is still covered by Copyright law and protections. There are, however, a few exceptions which are called “fair use”. These include use for educational purposes, critiques and other limited uses. But generally all use, whether in part or in a derivative form is breaching Copyright if you haven’t received permission.

Fourth Myth: If there is no Copyright symbol the ‘work’ is free to be used.

Again, this is incorrect. There is no requirement to display a Copyright symbol or even to register any ‘work’ to have Copyright protection. It’s protected from the moment it is created and the owner does not lose this protection just because they haven’t displayed the Copyright symbol. Although there is no requirement to register Copyright, if it is an important ‘work’ or being used worldwide, you may wish to consider registration for added protection.

Fifth Myth: You can use another person’s ‘work’ so long as you don’t make any financial gain or profit from it.

This is definitely wrong and false. You are breaching Copyright whether you make money or not! You cannot use the argument that you are giving the Copyright owner free advertising or that you came up with the ‘lucrative’ idea and you will share it with the Copyright owner – any and all profits you make would be taken into account by a court if you were sued. And irrespective of whether you make any money, you are still breaching Copyright. The defining issue is not financial gain but the actual breach. Find your own images and content to use and ideas to make money from.

In summary, do not use anyone else’s idea, work, images or anything that is not your own without getting permission – unless you can point to specific authorisation to use someone else’s ‘work’. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a Copyright Infringement Notice from the owner, or worse – in court.

We hope you found this Infographic on Copyright Infringement and protection in Australia helpful.

This article was first published on

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