Common Misconceptions about Copyrights Debunked

With the proliferation of the internet, people have greater access to artists’ work than in the past. This is one of the reasons that ‘copyright’ – a supposedly alien law term – has found its way into the general conversation in the 21st century. Despite being a part of conversation, the nature of copyright remains unclear. This lack of clarity has naturally given birth to a variety of misconceptions about copyright, including the meaning of the term. A copyright is a type of intellectual property that enables creative artists or authors to better protect their artistic creations such as their music, writings, motion pictures, and other artistic work. There are a number of common misconceptions associated with copyright which will be discussed below.

“Someone Else Has Copyrighted That Name”

A name is not something that is protectable by a copyright. A common mistake made my many is confusing copyrights with trademarks. Follow the links for more information of trademarks and copyrights.

“If I Don’t Defend the Copyright, I’ll Lose It”

If a trademark is not defended against third part use, it can be weakening and the owner risks a loss of rights. This same logic does not apply to copyrights. In Canada, a copyright is valid for 50 years after the death of the artist responsible for the creative work. For more information about copyright contact our team.

“If It Doesn’t Show ‘Copyright’ or the ‘:Copyright:’ Symbol, It’s Free to Use”

This may have been true in some parts of the world in the past, however this is not true today. Among the nations that follow the Berne Convention(which is 176 out of the 195 countries that exist today), most works conceptualized and executed originally are copyrighted – with or without the copyright notice. If you are not sure about whether or not something is protected by copyright consider speaking with an IP lawyer or agent for clarification or in the event of intentional or unintentional infringement of a copyright.

“Parody Equals Satire”

There is a difference between parody and satire. When using an author’s original work is done to make fun of the work or its author, this would qualify as parody. If using the same work to make fun of something else, that would count as satire. Parody is protected by fair use laws but satire does not enjoy protection to the same extent. It is possible for satire to qualify as ‘fair use’ but it may not be a straight forward determination.

“Everything on the Internet is Free!”

While we all wish that was true, everything on the internet is not free. Downloading a song, picture or movie is likely copyright infringement. This also applies when downloading copyrighted torrents files. Free work on the internet can be found on Creative Commons – a domain that hosts content that you can use with a simple attribution.

Are there more misconceptions that surround your existing knowledge about copyrights? Don’t let that knowledge fool you into infringing a copyright. Or worse, into not defending your copyright as you should. Our team would be happy to assist with all of your copyright needs.