A FAQ on copyright law, particularly in the U.S.
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FAQ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT COPYRIGHT (V. 1.1.0) Copyright 1993 Terry Carroll (c) 1993 Terry Carroll This faq is a series of six articles that contains frequently asked questions (FAQ) with answers relating to copyright law, particularly that of the United States. It is posted to the usenet misc.legal, misc.legal.computing, and misc.int-property newsgroups monthly, on or near the 17th of each month. The most current copy of the FAQ is always available for anonymous ftp from charon.amdahl.com [184.108.40.206], in the directory /pub/misc.legal/Copyright-FAQ, filenames part.1 - part.6. FAQ ORGANIZATION. The following table indicates the contents of each of the parts of the FAQ. For each part, the last version in which that part was updated (excluding the reorganization into six parts done as part of V1.1.0) is indicated in parentheses. Part 1 (V1.1.0) - Introduction (including full table of contents). Part 2 (V1.0.0) - Copyright basics. Part 3 (V1.0.0) - Common miscellaneous questions. Part 4 (V1.0.0) - International aspects. Part 5 (V1.0.2) - Further copyright resources. Part 6 (V1.0.0) - Appendix: A note about legal citation form, or, "What's all this '17 U.S.C. 107' and '977 F.2d 1510' stuff?" TABLE OF CONTENTS (for all parts). Part 1 - Introduction. Part 2 - Copyright Basics. 2.1) What is a copyright? 2.2) What is "public domain?" 2.3) I just wrote a great program/novel/song/whatever. How can I get a copyright on it? 2.4) How long does a copyright last? Does it need to be renewed? 2.5) What advantages are there to registering my work with the Copyright Office? 2.6) How can I register a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office? 2.7) What advantages are there to including a copyright notice on my work? 2.8) Can I ever use a copyrighted work without permission of the copyright holder, or "What is 'fair use?'" 2.9) Fair use - the legal basis of the doctrine. 2.10) [reserved.] Part 3 - Common miscellaneous questions. 3.1) Who owns the copyright to something I wrote at work, me or my company? 3.2) [reserved.] 3.3) Is copyright infringement a crime, or a civil matter? 3.4) What is the statute of limitation for copyright infringement? 3.5) Can the government be sued for copyright infringement? 3.6) Can the government copyright its works? 3.7) Can I legally make a cassette copy of a musical CD for my own use, so I can play it in my car? 3.8) Are Usenet postings and email messages copyrighted? 3.9) Are fonts copyrighted? 3.10) What does "All Rights Reserved" mean? 3.11) What's the difference between a copyright and a patent? 3.12) Why is there so little in this FAQ about patents? 3.13 - 3.18) [reserved.] Part 4 - International aspects. 4.1) What international treaties exist governing copyright, or "What is this Berne Convention I keep hearing about?" 4.2) Is Freedonia a signatory to either the Berne Convention or to the Universal Copyright Convention? Part 5 - Further copyright resources. 5.1) Where can I get more information on copyright? 5.2) What materials related to copyright are available on the Internet? Part 6 - Appendix: A note about legal citation form, or, "What's all this '17 U.S.C. 107' and '977 F.2d 1510' stuff?"
V1.0 (Jul. 12, 1993) - Initial release. V1.0.1 (Jul. 20, 1993) - Modified Q32 to add information on ftp from charon.amdahl.com V1.1.0 (Aug. 05, 1993) - Reorganized into six parts; minor editorial changes. Added to PAL
This article is Copyright 1993 by Terry Carroll. It may be freely redistributed in its entirety provided that this copyright notice is not removed. It may not be sold for profit or incorporated in commercial documents without the written permission of the copyright holder. Permission is expressly granted for this document to be made available for file transfer from installations offering unrestricted anonymous file transfer on the Internet. Permission is further granted for this document to be made available for file transfer in the Legal Forum and Desktop Publishing Forum data libraries of Compuserve Information Services. This article is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. Nothing in this article represents the views of Amdahl Corporation, Santa Clara University, or the Santa Clara Computer and High Technology Law Journal.
While all information in this article is believed to be correct at the time of writing, this article is for educational purposes only and does not purport to provide legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should consult with a legal practitioner licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. This documentation is provided "AS IS" and without any expressed or implied warranties whatsoever. No warranties as to performance, merchantability, or fitness for a particular purpose exist. The user must assume the entire risk and liability of using this document. In no event shall any person or organization of people be held responsible for any direct, indirect, consequential or inconsequential damages or lost profits.