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Copyright law.

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Introduction

Copyright is the "exclusive right given by law for term of years to author, designer etc., or his assignee to print, publish or sell copies of his original work" (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/library/copyright.shtml (OED 1989), 07/10/2003) Copyright is a law that protects published and unpublished work that you can see, hear and touch, from being reproduced without prior consent from the creator of the work. Copyright law and copyright originated in the United Kingdom from a concept of common law, the statute of Anne 1709. It became statutory with the passing of the copyright act 1911. The current act is the copyright, designs and patents act 1988. (http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/law (01).htm ,17/10/2003) Until 1996, under UK law copyright ended fifty years after the creator of the work died or, if it was published after their death, fifty years after the work was first lawfully published. However, UK law was superseded by a Directive of the European Union from 1 January 1996. That harmonized the copyright laws in the member states of the Union and extended the period of copyright to seventy years for all member states of the European Union including the UK. So in the UK and throughout the European Union copyright now lasts for seventy years. In fact, it is slightly longer than that as copyright ends on 1 January after the seventieth anniversary. ...read more.

Middle

There are also many things within the internet that are not copyrighted (or uncopyrighted). The official title for this is work that is in the "Public Domain". Because they are in the public domain, they are free to use, by anyone, without prior consent of the author/creator. The same items you will find in the public domain are the items that cannot be copyrighted (for instance ideas, titles etc). The public domain will also hold all work that once had copyright protection, but has since lost it, although, today's copyright laws make it virtually impossible to lose copyright protection. Bearing all this in mind, it is still possible for copyrighted work to enter the public domain if the author/creator/owner of the work gives permission. When you access an internet site, they have copyright and database protection. However, it has been said that sites accessed without passwords or conditions could be argued to be implicitly allowing licence to copy. (http://www.newi.ac.uk/library/guidelines/77.htm , 07/10/2003) You can make a single copy of a literary work only if the copying of that work is only for the person who copied it and it is used for research or private study, for reporting current events or if it is being used for a review. In addition, you must not damage the rightful well-being of the owner of the work. ...read more.

Conclusion

To deal with the difficulties of policing copyright on the Internet copyright holders should look at new ways to use and exploit copyright such as copyright management systems, licensing regimes to make unauthorized copying unattractive and other methods. (http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/services/papers/bl/ans-1996/davies/, 07/10/2003) As of October 31st 2003, the United Kingdoms copyright laws make a number of significant changes. The most important change being the copying of documents for commercial purposes will no longer be allowed without paying a copyright fee (under the Library Privilege Copy Service.) There are three main issues associated with the copying of electronic data. The first is that private copies will be made for personal use but that the fair deal will be ignored. Although, this is not in violation of copyright laws, as long as it does not affect the value of the work. The second issue is probably the most serious cause for concern. This is that someone might try to profit from reselling articles. This is not so much a threat for scholarly journal articles, but is definitely a problem when people take movies, songs and books from the internet. The third issue is the free distribution of copyright material. In most cases, it is an unintentional act, which does not result in the loss of any money to the creator of the original works. If, however, it is found to be a deliberate act, to make profit from someone else's work then the courts will act on it. Copyright Clare Jones 07/05/2007 ...read more.

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