Monday, September 12, 2016

What is a copyright?

The USPTO says, "Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. The 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative work, to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, or to display the copyrighted work publicly."

Copyrights, like patents and trademarks, are a public claim of ownership and offer limited monopoly power over intellectual property. The copyright protects the form of expression rather than the subject matter of the writing. For example, a description of a machine could be copyrighted, but this would only prevent others from copying the description; it would not prevent others from writing a description of their own or from making and using the machine. Protection is limited to the particular expression of an idea, process, or concept in a specific form. However, copyright protects others from deriving new work based on the original. Fair use provisions of the copyright law allow for the limited use of copyrighted materials without the author's permission for specific purposes.

The Berne Convention
The goals of the Berne Convention provided the basis for mutual recognition of copyright between sovereign nations and promoted the development of international norms in copyright protection. European nations established a mutually satisfactory uniform copyright law to replace the need for separate registration in every country. The treaty has been revised five times since 1886.

Today, the primary law governing copyrights internationally is the WIPO Copyright Treaty, upon which over 50 countries have agreed.

History of copyright
Copyright law started with the 'The Statute of Anne,' the world's first copyright law passed by the British Parliament in 1709. Yet the principle of protecting the rights of artists predates this. 

In the US, "the First Congress implemented the copyright provision of the U.S. Constitution in 1790. The Copyright Act of 1790, An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by Securing the Copies of Maps, Charts, and Books to the Authors and Proprietors of Such Copies, was modeled on the Statute of Anne (1710). It granted American authors the right to print, re-print, or publish their work for a period of fourteen years and to renew for another fourteen. The law was meant to provide an incentive to authors, artists, and scientists to create original works by providing creators with a monopoly. At the same time, the monopoly was limited in order to stimulate creativity and the advancement of 'science and the useful arts' through wide public access to works in the 'public domain.

Not everything can be copyrighted
Here is a blog about intellectual property in general, but it starts with a discussion about what cannot be copyrighted. It includes topics most of us do not think about such as fan fiction and impromptu dance steps.

Creative Commons
The Berne convention requires that every work is automatically considered copyrighted and receive full copyright protection. That is what created the need for the Creative Commons licences in the first place. If works were not fully protected by default then there would be no need for CC licenses in most cases." Creative Commons is an alternative to traditional copyright, developed by a nonprofit organization of the same name. By default, most original works are protected by copyright, which confers specific rights regarding use and distribution. Creative Commons allows copyright owners to release some of those rights while retaining others, with the goal of increasing access to and sharing of intellectual property. By 2015 there were at least 1 billion works protected by the Creative Commons.

Application of copyright information for an information assurance manager

  • Anything and everything on the Internet is likely to be copied. Strong organizational controls over what information is placed on Internet facing systems is advised
  • Organizations with a vast amount of Internet facing information such as The SANS Institute need to invest in an intellectual property incident handling capability to detect and respond to infringement
  • Adobe pdfs security can be defeated trivially
  • All known ebook implementations can be broken given sufficient time
  • European nations, especially Scandinavian, are beginning to question whether copyright is valid as a concept
  • Within the US, the DMCA yields quick and effective results and polite take down notices work just as well as harsh ones

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