04 June 2008

14.0 Miscellaneous Copyright Issues

Please post any questions that do not fall into other categories, or please suggest new categories.

Lesley

46 comments:

Chris said...

My educational institution creates multimedia educational modules for our students. When they take photos or video clips of manufacturer's equipment purchased by the institution on the premises of the institution, I still request permission from the manufacturer.
The only legal issue I can see is manufacturer's trademark as it appears in the video/photo that will be posted/distributed on the Web or via i-pods. Should I be concerned only for trademarks and possibly industrial design? I am in Canada.
Chris

Copyrightlaws.com said...

I think it will be difficult to enforce checking devices for content at the borders and would like to hear more on how this may work in Canada.

Copyrightlaws.com said...

For a trademark to be infringed, it has to cause confusion with a product or service as to the original of the product or service. It's unlikely that a photo in your module would cause such confusion.
Lesley

Isabelle said...

Our organization has been approached by another to submit our publications in electronic format so that students with special needs, as well as ESL students, may have access to the written material. We are happy to provide the files for computer programs which read the texts, highlight some elements, etc. to faciliate learning. On the other hand, we are concerned about the computerized translation, in different languages, of our material. As often seen in these translations, the meaning is lost, or worst, altered. Are ESL students generally considered to have a "perceptual disability"? If so, is their a way to limit the translation of our material for such use?

Copyrightlaws.com said...

If it is material you own, you can place whatever restrictions you wish when you provide access to that material to others. Generally, ESL students would not be subject to any exceptions under copyright law. As to who falls under an exception for perceptually disabled, it would depend on the meaning of that word in your country's copyright legislation.

Beth said...

QUESTION: My company writes textbooks. Before using third party material in it, we request permission from the copyright owner. Now we would like to license our content to another party. How does this work in terms of the permissions? Is my company responsible for obtain the permissions for the licensee to use? Or is that the licensee's responsibility once the material is licensed? Thanks.

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Thanks Beth -- when you license content, you can ask for the permission re license the content to third parties. Or if you prefer not to do so (as it may cost you money), you may want to inform third parties that they may need to get permissions/licenses prior to using your content for another purpose.

Jenny said...

Here is a quasi-copyright question for you: a private non-profit organization has (had!) a small collection of children's books in a space that the public has access to - mostly parents and small children. These books are stolen constantly. Rather than perpetually replacing the collection, is it ok to dismantle these books, perhaps laminate the pages and find a way to secure them with things like bolts/cords/bulky frames (etc.) so that people can read them in a particular area (with seating) but cannot take the books with them?

Opinions?

Thanks,

Jenny

Beth said...

Public domain music...Anything prior to 1923 is in the public domain. But does this mean the sheet music is in the public domain or does it mean any song composed by Bach is also free to use? I'm confused about sound recordings vs. public domain music. If we want to play a composition by BACH to a public forum, is it public domain or is permission needed?

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Music is a complicated area as there are various rights from rights in the lyrics to sheet music to recordings to performances. To answer part of your questions - performing a work by Bach -- if Bach's actual non-adapted work, would be in the public domain and permission is not necessary.

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Jenny, dismantling a book is likely not a copyright use -- as copyright goes more towards reproducing a book.

Frank said...

Can I present copyrighted material (from an insurance company's in-house manual regrding how they handle certain types of claims) in a powerpoint presentation? If not, is quoting the material permitted, or must I reword all content to publicly discuss it, ie. at a seminar?

Frank

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Hi Frank, under fair use in the US or fair dealing in Canada and other countries, you may use some portions of works without getting permission, such as quotes. Uses of other amounts depends on various factors which really only a court could decide. However, you may use the "information" or "ideas" in the works as those are not protected by copyright.

Eiremanlite said...

I am working on establishing a digital audio library based on 2300 jazz albums in a university archive. The objective is to make the music, as well as scanned album art covers and liner notes, available to the university student and researcher population through password-protected access. I am having trouble getting answers anywhere on what the copyright restrictions are. There are already numerous university libraries that have some forms of digital music and accompanying material available, but still I cannot get clear guidelines. Suggestions?

Beth said...

If there is a video posted on a website, can you show the video from your PC to a large group of people without obtaining permission?

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Beth, when a video is posted on a Web site, it is similar to any other work you find online. You have to assume the video is protected by copyright and that you need to obtain permission. However, perhaps the owner is giving permission right in the Web site -- look at where the video is posted to see if there is information concerning copyright or see if there is any sort of permissions on the video itself. Without this permission, you would have to contact the copyright owner.

Lesley

Brian said...

Here's one for you......

SCENARIO: An institution of higher education video records a lecture that is free and open to the public. We have the lecturer sign a permission form to allow us to record and copy/distribute the material. Thus, we're covered.

QUESTION: If an audience member asks a question during the Q&A period, do we need permission from the audience member as well?

Where would I find legal information on this subject?

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Hi Brian, copyright only comes into play upon fixation of a work. So, someone asking a question off the top of their head would likely not have that question in writing or otherwise recorded and therefore there would be no rights in the recording. However, there are other areas of the law you may have to be concerned about, particularly privacy rights. Your risk of course depends partially on what you plan to do with the recording for example use it in class or post it on YouTube. If people are registering for the lecture, you can have them sign a form allowing the recording of it and their comments etc. And if no registration is necessary, you may want to post some signs at the entrance of the lecture hall stating that you will be recording the lecture and that audience members may be included in the recording, etc.

Gabriel said...

I'm the librarian at a k-12 school and I'm often the person approached about copyright issues. One of our teachers has ordered a video curriculum, which includes educational viewing rights. The dvd has not arrived, and the teacher has found the first parts of the curriculum on YouTube (or something similar). She wants to know if she's okay to start showing the YouTube clips, since we've paid for the purchase, but haven't received it yet.

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Hi Gabriel, you would have to review the terms and conditions in the license with the DVD and sees if it allows you to use an alternative method of obtaining the same content. Also, perhaps in one of the sites you are downloading from, it will give you those rights.
Lesley

Richard Wojtowicz said...

I received this question from a staff member in our library. "Basically, I make collages out of small bits of magazine photos. I use these bits as colors and textures. How large would my pieces need to be, or what must they be of (for example, if I had an ocean bit with a fish in it) to be copyright protected?"

Thank you,
Rich Wojtowicz
Montana State University Libraries

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Hi Richard, you raise 2 copyright issues. 1, do you need permission to use small parts of images? That would depend on how "insubstantial" the small parts are. 2, do you have copyright protection in a collage? As long as the collage is an original work then there is copyright protection in it.

Nicole said...

I have a professor who is using a personal copy of a movie to show part of it to her class; she realizes that she needs PPR, but not sure how to go about obtaining this. Who is the best person to contact (Motion Picture Distribution? Alliance Atlantis? Magnolia Pictures?) and is it even possible to get this permission after the fact, or am I better off to purchase a new copy of the movie with PPR rights already in it?

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Hi PPR; if a copy of the movie is available for sale with public performance rights for educational purposes, that would likely be your easiest route. Otherwise, you need to determine who owns the PPR in the movie. This may be evident from the package of the movie or you may need to do some investigative work through the motion pictures association or online searches.

C├ęcile said...

Based in Belgium, the University library at which I work has only 1 remaining copy of an out of print book (still in copyright of course), still very much used.
We were planning to digitize it, and give access to users only on dedicated PCs (eventually, in an intranet), such as the European directive unables us to do (= preservation purpose). However, can the library also offer a printed version of the book, to be read only in the library... or that users can borrow, without having to track the IPR owner?
Thanks for your advice!

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Hi Cecile, I think you would have to look at the exact wording of the preservation provision under your law. Generally, preservation copying only allows one copy for archival or consultation use. You may have to choose as to whether you want to make that copy in a digital form or in a print form -- provided of course that the provision allows you this choice.

Karen said...

Hi there Lesley!

I was just curious - Is a photo of someone's home copyrightable?

I am a photographer who took a photo of a home from across the river, but didn't realize it was the home of a singer. A client liked it, and wanted it for her business cards. I used it, but another photographer told her to stop using the cards because the owner of the home, being a celebrity, had some sort of copyright on their home simply because they are a celebrity. I was sure anything we took in the public domain was ok to use... and that it didn't matter if they were a celebrity or not.

Can you help me out?

Do you know the answer to this one?

Thanks so much for your time!

Take care,
Karen

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Hi Karen, copyright laws in most countries allow the photographing of the outside of buildings. That being said, you need to check your own country's copyright laws (if in the US check the Library of Congress/Copyright Office). As the house is a famous person's house, that person may have claims in other areas of the law including privacy and publicity.

chjr said...
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chjr said...
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chjr said...

I am an elementary teacher and purchased a karaoke version of the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. I wanted to use it to put on a play with my students for the parents. Would this break copyright laws? If so, how could I get permission to use it?

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Hi Chjr, using a sound recording in a classroom is permitted under some country's copyright laws so you have to check your own laws. However, it is unlikely that use would be beyond your physical classroom and to your students (eg parents and in an auditorium are likely not permitted) since generally educational exceptions are narrowly drafted.

califabbi said...

I have a DVD I have paid for, and it only has the french language in it. I want to show it to a friend but I need english subtitles. There are english subtitles that can be downloaded, but this means I would have to transfer the DVD to my PC, add the subtitles, and burn the DVD back then I would be able to show the movie to my friend (at my place). I'm adding, not modifying anything, and not giving a copy to anyone. Is this legal?

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Hi Califabbi, you are reproducing the DVD, and by adding subtitles, arguably modifying it....so you are using a couple of rights within the copyright law. Assuming you are in the US, you could look at the defense of fair use and see whether you are comfortable applying it in your circumstances...do a search of fair use test and you'll come up with several tests to examine your own situation.

Brandon and Nicole said...

A student would like to make a compilation of video clips for an
assignment and present them in class. (We do have public performance
rights on the DVDs for which the student wishes to obtain clips from).

Would fair dealing not apply (as this would be for "research, private
study, criticism, etc) AND because only a very small portion of the
work is being replicated?

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Hi Brandon and Nicole; you have several rights when using clips including reproduction, adaptation, synchronization and public performance. It is possible that fair dealing (in Canada I assume) would apply to your situation. However, fair dealing is not exact and depends on the circumstances at hand, how much you are using, is the part being used the "meat" of the original work, what is the competition with the original work, etc. You may want to review the factors concerning fair dealing in my book, Canadian Copyright Law, pubished by Mcgraw-Hill.

Lesley

bill said...

I am looking for advise on posting pictures that were paid for on facebook to share with friends. I recently purchased pictures of my kids and pets from my ex wife on her red bubble site. I took a picture from my cell phone of one of the pictures and posted it on facebook. Am i violating copyright simply by sharing with my friends the great pics that she took? Do I need to physically have someone at my home to show them the pics? Please let me know. Thanks, Bill

Gail D. Whitter said...

What a great site. I have a question for you - what is the copyright of abandoned artworks? i recently purchased a box of lino cuts from a local thrift shop - my intent was to use the print offs in layered works and collages ... i have since determined who the creator of the works was - he passed in 1985 predeceased by his wife in 1980 - no living relatives that i have been able to locate ... there are no signatures on the works. what am i doing wrong if i use sections of the lino cuts in layered or collage works? and/or how do i find out if the works are protected? many thanks for your help and suggestions.

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Hi Gail - not an easy answer. The works are protected by copyright for 50 years after the author's death. During this time, you must either obtain permission to use the works or make a judgment as to the risk you are willing to take if you are caught using a work without obtaining permission. Not sure where you live but in Canada there is an unlocatable copyright owner provision that may be of assistance. No similar provision exists in US law.

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Hi Bill, when you purchase a photo, you purchase certain uses of that photo. You will have to return to your purchase agreement to see what rights you have in that photo and how you may use it.

Bobbie said...

I designed and produced illustrations for a book for a not for profit org. 4 years ago. I just completed a new cover for a 2nd edition – same interior as last edition. It just came to my attention they are selling it on major sites now for profit. I have not signed any releases for copyright to the author or publisher. I appear in the book as the above mentioned roles. I feel I should be compensated now, as they are selling for profit. What should my course of action be?

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Hi Bobbie, if you never signed an agreement and you were not an employee, then you own the rights to the design. You may want to approach the organization and/or ask a lawyer to approach them on your behalf. You can approach them by email, phone or a letter.

Cheryl said...

A trio of Edmonton writers is engaged in writing for the inaugural issue of a magazine launched by a professional continuing education centre. The publishing group has sent us an agreement for services that obviously is amended from an instructor contract. They are open to recommended changes. What would you would recommend re copyright (including electronic rights and remuneration) and kill fee in a case such as this, basically an in-house publication using freelance writing talent? We looking for both ideas and wording. For a copy of the original agreement, email mahaffyc@shaw.ca Cheryl

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Hi Cheryl, first put the agreement aside and determine what rights you are willing to give to the magazine. Second, see if the contract being offered to you is close to what you want, and either amend it, or offer your own agreement. You may be able to find some sample agreements online that better meet your purposes.

Anonymous said...

Let’s say we wanted to use artists' images ((photocopied, cut from magazines etc...)(historical through to contemporary)) and use them in a collage activity in our museum with the potential to create smaller take-aways for visitors PLUS create a larger collage on a larger board or wall and display it on You Tube using time lapse photography as the work is being created – think that would be okay?

Mona said...

My organization's foundation wants to use a short musical clip from a popular song in a video that they are posting on You Tube. Do they need permission or is there a certain amount that is permissible to use such as less than 30 seconds of the entire recording?