WHAT IS COPYRIGHT?
Copyright is a legal means of protecting published or unpublished works. A work can be anything that is in a fixed or tangible form. An idea alone cannot be copyrighted! Examples of works that can be copyrighted are:
– Literary works such as novels, plays, poems, newspapers, and computer programs;
– Films, musical compositions, choreography;
– Artistic works such as paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture;
– Advertisements, maps, and technical drawings;
– HTML coding.1
Almost everything on the Internet should be considered copyrighted unless it is clearly stated otherwise.
The purpose of copyright is to promote creative and scientific expression, giving people the incentive to bring new ideas to life. A copyright gives the owner the explicit right to determine how their work is to be used. Only the original creator has the right to authorize or deny the reproduction, distribution, performance, or display of their work. He alone can decide if another may use his work. The copyright is violated when someone else decides to make this decision without permission from the owner.
The issue of copyright on the Internet is a difficult one. In this new age of technology with the importance of the Internet increasing in our daily lives, the idea of ownership is often pushed into the background. The Internet is a new form of communication which connects people around the world, allowing millions of people to access it, making available varying types of information. The popular, yet wrong, opinion of many people to think that they can copy anything on the Net, is due to the extreme facility in which one can reproduce files. In the digital age that we live in, it is easy to make exact copies of almost anything on the Internet, ranging from graphics to music. With a click of the mouse a person can make a copy of an original work and have that work then saved on their hard drive. However, as with anything, just because it is easy to do, does not mean that it is LEGAL.