Copyright is when a person provides an original idea that can’t (legally) be used by other people for profit or personal gain. If a person uses someone else’s idea illegally, they can face a hefty fine and possible jail time. A short list of copyright material includes films, articles, arts and musical material. However, general facts cannot be copyrighted as they are considered general knowledge.
People can use 4 strategies to avoid copyright infringement. These 4 strategies include:
- The purpose and character of the use. Will the materials be used non- commercially in a nonprofit education institution?
- The nature of the work being copied. Is the work published or unpublished? Is it factual or creative? Unpublished works have stronger protections than do published works. Although facts cannot be protected, the expression of those facts may be.
- The amount of the work being used. Are you using a little, a lot, or all of a work? The more you use, the less likely that the use is fair.
- The effect of your use on the market for or value of the work being copied. What would happen if everyone were to do what you are proposing? Would you deprive the copyright owner of a sale or harm the value in other ways? If you have any commercial intent, even if the money goes to a good cause, harm to the market is assumed (Crews, 2000).
All of these strategies, if effectively used, can help people avoid the possible disciplines that come with copyright infringement.
With this being said the type of media involved plays an important role in deciding what is right and what is wrong. For example, articles and videos can be used in education by teachers, but only once. They can make copies of the material as long as they were not influenced to do so by anyone but themselves. More popular forms of media such as music and film, are much less lenient when it comes copyright. If copied in any way shape or form (besides education in some cases) people can face very extensive fines and even jail-time. With this in mind, it is important to realize what is acceptable and not acceptable when considering using information from any resource that is not personal in nature.