What are the Best Tips for Copyright Compliance?

Keith Koons
Keith Koons
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

There are many specific laws pertaining to copyright compliance that should be adhered to at all times. Whenever using the Internet to find photographs, written text, art, music, or other forms of creative work, it is important to understand that each item is protected by law, and it can not be redistributed without consent from the original author. The same types of laws apply to works within the real world, and none of them can be copied, distributed, or used in any way except what is specified by its creator. It is also helpful to note that there are thousands of media types designated free to use by the creators, and as long as they are given proper credit, it is perfectly legal to use them.

Perhaps the most common place to run into copyright compliance is while surfing the Internet. The only time it is legal to copy and redistribute any photographs, videos, pictures, or other documents is when the author has listed express consent for anyone to do so on the website itself or when a photograph or video is being used for promotional purposes. In this case, the media can be copied as long as it is not enhanced, and it typically needs to be posted in the lowest possible resolution. Also, quotes and select parts of text can be used without express permission from the creator as long as proper credit is given to the original author and the website does not state otherwise.

When it comes to print media, the laws regarding copyright compliance are exactly the same. Writers and artists may opt to file for copyright protection with a government agency as an additional protection, but the same basic protections are granted to any unique content even without it. Whenever a copyright compliance clause appears on a book, video, or musical recording, the media is not allowed to be copied or distributed in any form except in cases when the author grants permission. Some media titles will grant redistribution rights for everyone as long as specific terms are met, and the easiest way to comply with their wishes is to read the consent page that is distributed with the material.

Under the Berne Convention, copyrights remain in effect for the life of the author plus 50 years, at minimum. In the US, works published after 2002 are protected for 70 years after the creator's death, 95 years after publication or 120 years after creation, whichever comes first. Some regions also offer additional protections in terms of copyright compliance that pertain specifically to media, published works, or other forms of expressive creation. The easiest way to verify what protections are afforded to the creators is to visit the country of origin's website pertaining to copyright compliance.

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