In this drawing, I attempt to explain the wonderful world of copyright law. As an aside, I think that all intellectual property (i.e. patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret) lawyers like writing about copyright. Because we're all familiar with stuff that copyright protects - books, movies, CDs, DVDs, radio, TV, and the like. Even if, like me, they don't practice copyright law.A complete explanation of the diagram, which is a simplification of the entire system, is along with the original drawing on Erik's site.
What most people don't appreciate is that there are three types of uses of copyrighted stuff. And not all of those rights are protected by (and hence can be legally controlled by) the copyright owner. Have you ever seen a copyright notice that says "It is illegal to make a copy of this copyrighted document." Well, that's not true, because it excludes fair use. I've often thought that the Copyright Act should be amended to say that all copyright rights are forfeit if an incorrect copyright notice is placed on a work. But that will never happen.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Copyright as a Venn diagram
Patent and trademark attorney Erik J. Heels drew this diagram to help explain copyright to a friend's daughter, who was shadowing him for a school project.