RHJ's Frequently Asked Questions About Copyright
|The FAQ provided by RHJ is simply an overview of
some of your responsibilities under the most basic copyright laws, and provided to clear
up common misconceptions. THIS POST IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. If you want legal advice on
copyright matters, consult a copyright attorney.
*Can I post copyrighted material?
No, do not post copyrighted material. That means that you should not buy a Jewish humor book, type in the jokes, and post them, nor should you post the lyrics to a song. Copyright means that, generally speaking, only the author or copyright holder has the right to copy it.
*What are examples of items that are copyrighted?
*What about really old material (over 100 years)?
Although really old material is most likely unprotected, there may be underlying trademarks or other protections that you may not be aware of. For example, you cannot copy a *newly* translated story from a 100-year-old book, as the translation would be copyrighted.
*Can't I post under Fair Use?
Many people wrongly think that "fair use" applies if only a certain percentage of the document is used, or if they will not profit from it. In fact, there are many situations in which these kinds of uses are clear violations of copyright law. "Fair Use" Laws permit the use of portions of copyrighted text only for specific purposes under specific situations. Unless you are familiar with applicable Fair Use provisions, dont feel that you will be covered under Fair Use laws.
However, do note that many Jewish humor compendia are compilations of jokes in circulation. Once a joke is in circulation, publishing it does not give the "author" copyright protection for all the jokes. The author has only a "compilation copyright" preventing anyone from copying the work, significant subset, or superset.
An excellent synopsis of copyright is at Brad Templeton's site:
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