Copyright Confusions

Just an aside, because this is a bit of a peeve I have:

* You own the copyright to works that you create, in principle.
* Names, brand names etc are protected by trademarks, not copyrights.
* Ideas, concepts, etc can be protected by patents, but only if they fulfill the criteria as inventions, which is not the same as ideas.

Copyright is automatic. You do not have to register it, but where this is possible it might of course help with enforcement. Trademarks must be registered and actively used and defended. Patents must be filed, examined, and granted.

There are certain minimum standards on what is considered coyprightable. So for example writing the sentence: “I love you” does not mean you own it.

A lot of people do not understand copyright, don’t know what it’s for, and do not respect it. Always respect the copyright of others, if you want others to respect yours. I have seen too many blogs use pictures or other material they clearly do not own and are not licensed to use.

That said, the Internet is all about sharing, about a common culture for all of mankind. If you publish something on the Internet, please consider doing so under a creative commons license.

A CC license is an easy way for you to tell others what they are allowed to do with your works. This will help them because they should have an easier time understanding what they are allowed to do and it should help you because it encourages sharing in a respectful manner. And after all is said and done, don’t we all want others to read our works?

But, please, whatever you do… at least get your terms right. I can never take anyone serious who claims that “this word is copyrighted” or “I own the trademark on this idea”.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and this posting is not legal advice. In case of questions on copyright law, see an attorney licensed to work in your jurisdiction.

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