8.1 Question: My organization’s Web site has several photographs on it. We were recently asked to remove a photograph with the claim that we did not have permission to post it. However, we have a written agreement with the photographer and this second alleged owner of the photographer claims that he owns it (rather than the photographer with whom we have an agreement.) Should we remove the photograph?
Answer: You need to determine who in fact is the owner of the photograph and whether you have permission from this owner. Does your permission/license with the photographer state that he is in fact the owner of the photograph, and that it is an original work, and that he has permission to enter into this agreement? How about the alleged owner who has recently contacted you? Is he able to prove that he owns the photograph? Some investigation should reveal the owner of the photograph. (2006-2)
8.2 Question: I recently purchased a DVD movie on Ebay and when I received the DVD the label on it seems homemade and there is no box/cover for it. I assume it is a pirated copy. To whom shall I report this?
Answer: Contact Ebay, and the Motion Picture Association of America at: www.mpaa.org. You should also contact the seller and ask for your money back. (2006-2) For pirated computer software and digital content, contact the Software & Information Industry Association at: www.siia.net.
8.3 Question: What is the role of the WIPO treaties on copyright law (www.wipo.org) and how do they govern copyright in each country?
Answer: WIPO administers a number of copyright treaties however these treaties do not govern the copyright law in any country. Rather, the countries who adhere to these treaties must include the minimum standard of copyright protection in these treaties. For instance, the Berne Convention specifies 50 years after an author’s death as the minimum duration of copyright protection. Each Berne member country must protect copyright works for at least 50 years, but may do so for longer, as in the U.S., for 70 years. (2007-2)
8.4 Question: Can you go to jail for copyright infringement?
Answer: Most countries’ copyright statutes provide for some criminal liability for copyright infringement. It is unlikely that there would be criminal liability for photocopying a single article in a library. Criminal liability would be for large-scale piracy and likely willful copying where the user knew or had reason to know that his actions were illegal. (2007-2)
8.5 Question: Will our company’s copyright compliance policy exempt us from copyright liability by our employees?
Answer: Although certain legislation or case law provides some advantages for your copyright policy limiting your liability in specified circumstances, for the most part your policy will not exempt you from your employees’ copyright liability. However, your policy will help educate those in your enterprise about copyright and in doing so, may lower the occurrences when copyright-protected material is used without permission. (2007-3)
8.6 Question: If I want to do a “Where’s Waldo” type of book, using a “Where’s ___________?” (someone else), what copyright issues need I be concerned about?
Answer: There is no copyright protection in ideas, so you can create a similar idea to the Where’s Waldo books. Your content should be original and not copied from anywhere else, unless you have permission to include that content in your book. (2009-1)
8.7 Question: I own a collection of copyright-protected figurines, and have taken a photo of one of them for my book cover art. The figurine is photographed in a setting with a backdrop, pearls at her feet and special lighting that enhances the appearance of her wings. Is the photo of the figurine an infringement of copyright?
Answer: If the figurine is protected by copyright, then you need permission to photograph it “as-is”, and in any “modified” manner. You should get permission prior to taking your photograph.
8.8 Question: I am an artist and plan on making a pencil drawing of a photo, with 25% of the drawing being different from the photo. Is that an infringement of copyright in the photo?
Answer: There is no percentage that makes copying legal or illegal. Copying any amount more than a “substantial” amount (which is not clearly defined in the law) requires permission. Although this is a judgement call in each particular circumstance, it is likely that copying 75% of a work would be considered substantial and require permission. (2010-4)
8.9 Question: As an online seller can I take a picture of a book or dvd cover, and copy the synopsis material from the inside cover or DVD packaging, and simply reference it as described by the publisher/author?
Answer: You need permission to reproduce the cover of a book or DVD package. Generally, the publisher/producer owns the rights to the cover art so start by asking the publisher/producer. Reproducing a small portion of the book may be permissible and it is arguable that copying the synopsis material may be legal however it depends on the circumstances in each situation. Summarizing the contents of the book in your own words is fine and does not require permission. (2011-1)
8.10 Question: Is it an infringement to distort an image, for example, create an animated flash website out of a static image, or an image of a button that changes color when one hovers over it?
Answer: When manipulating images in any manner, you may need the permission from the copyright holder for the right of reproduction and adaptation, as well as be concerned about moral rights (changes that may harm the reputation of the creator of the work). (2012-3)