What you should know about the latest (i.e., A.D. 2015) version of the Copyright Act

While talking about the protection provided by the copyright law, the director-general of the Department of Intellectual Property said the essence of the law is prohibition of the reproduction, adaptation, and public dissemination of copyrighted materials. There are, however, exceptions when the prohibited actions are not for commercial purposes and credit is properly given to the source—the rationale behind the prohibition being to prevent loss to the copyright owner or harm to the owner’s rights.4657127847_cd6c0fc606

What does copyright protect? Are there things we can make use of without prior permission?

Copyright protects creative works such as articles, books, software, songs, pictures, drawings, and photos.

Is merely mentioning the source or giving credit to the copyright owner enough for the use and dissemination of a copyrighted work not to be deemed copyright infringement?

Not only must the source be mentioned or credit be given the copyright owner each time a copyrighted work is made use of or disseminated for the use or dissemination not to be deemed copyright infringement, but the use or dissemination must not adversely affect the copyright holder’s normal seeking of benefits from the work and not unreasonably affect the rights of the holder, as well.

What manners of using a picture or an article copied from the internet require prior permission of the copyright owner? What manners do not?

An example of the manners of the use of such materials that require prior permission is the use for commercial purposes. One that does not have such requirement to meet is the use of a reasonable number of pictures or articles for such purposes as non-profit-seeking research or study, personal use for the benefit of the user or members of his/her family, critiquing or recommending the picture or article with acknowledgment of the copyright ownership, broadcasting through the mass media with acknowledgment of the copyright ownership, and the use for educational purposes.

How should we respond to other people’s use of our copyrighted materials without permission?

When the infringement is found out, the copyright owner may warn the infringing party to stop the transgression, or s/he may lodge a complaint with the police or a lawsuit with the court. Another alternative is to seek arbitration either in court or by using the service of the Department of Intellectual Property’s “Prevention and Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property”.

Can we download movies or songs from the internet and share them with our friends?

Downloading is regarded as reproduction that requires prior permission of the copyright owner unless done via the Copyright Website, where free downloading is allowed by copyright owners.  Downloading from a fee-charging website requires the user to pay for their service first. In either case, however, the user cannot share the downloaded content.

Are we allowed to copy articles or pictures from a website and paste them on Facebook or share them to Line?

Articles and pictures are copyright works. Before copying or sharing them, the user should make sure that s/he understands the copying or sharing extent to which the website’s conditions of use allow. However, where the amount used is small with insignificant economic value (e.g., one or two pictures), the use is not for commercial or profit-seeking purposes, and the source is properly credited, the copying or sharing is deemed to be fair use, not copyright infringement.

Will the Internet Service Provider (ISP), such as YouTube, Google, True, DTAC, be guilty of copyright infringement if an internet user uploads a copyright-infringing movie or song?

The ISP is not deemed to infringe copyright if they cooperate with the copyright owner in removing the infringing material from the website in compliance with the court order.

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