Chapters 5 : Business, Issues and Controversies

Sections 3 : Internet Controversies


In the past published materail was able to be controled and copyrighted. With the Internet different issues have risen. Any user of the Internet be it for business or not should be aware of copyright issues. Because of information flooding the Internet, copyright issues have become threaten. Copyright issues are dealt with varying degrees on the Internet.

Copyright is a right of intellectual property, whereby authors obtain, for a limited time, certain exclusive rights to their works. All original material is protected by copyright. If you are using the material already protected by a company, you need to get prior permission from the company before using it. In most countries, copyright is exclusively a federal law, and it is protected by the governemnt. Some examples of works protected by copyrights include: news storeies, software, novels, graphics, prictures, Newsgroup messages, and even Electronic mail (E-mail). It seems everything on the Internet is copyrighted. However, that is not completely true. There is a concept of public domain, which is the direct opposite to copyright. Public domain material can be access and freely used by anyone for any purpose.

The U.S. Copyright Office provides various circulars with information about copyright within the United States. Note that the laws of other nations govern the status of copyright protection of works within their boundaries; a work may be protected abroad even though its copyright has expired in the United States. Extra territorial uses of copyrighted works are governed by laws other than United States law.

The one difficult issue with copyright laws is any expression can be copyrighted. This means as soon as an expression is tangible, it is automatically copyrighted. Therefore, partically everything one sees on the Internet is protected. However, there are limitations as to what is eligible for copyright. Ideas, facts, titles, names, short phrases and blank forms are not eligible for copyright protection. In Web publishing, the contents of the Web page is protected by copyright. This is because a Web page is similar to a book, magazine, and CD-ROM.

Here is one of many site that can provide more information on Copyrighting material.

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