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 Chilling Effects Clearinghouse > Copyright > Notices > You Took My Myspace Picture (NoticeID 2219, http://chillingeffects.org/N/2219) Printer-friendly version

August 04, 2005

 

Sender Information:
www.mydogatemyemail.com
Sent by: [Private]
[Private]
El Paso, TX, 79902, US

Recipient Information:
Copyright Agent
www.myspace.com
6060 Center Dr St
Los Angeles, CA, 90045, USA


Sent via: Email, FedEx
Re: You Took My Myspace Picture

Dear Sir or Madam:

Pursuant to Sections 512(c)(3) and 512(d)(3) of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (17 U.S.C.

 
FAQ: Questions and Answers

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Question: What are the provisions of 17 U.S.C. Section 512(c)(3) & 512(d)(3)?

Answer: Section 512(c)(3) sets out the elements for notification under the DMCA. Subsection A (17 U.S.C. 512(c)(3)(A)) states that to be effective a notification must include: 1) a physical/electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the infringed right; 2) identification of the copyrighted works claimed to have been infringed; 3) identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed; 4) information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party (e.g., the address, telephone number, or email address); 5) a statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material is not authorized by the copyright owner; and 6) a statement that information in the complaint is accurate and that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner. Subsection B (17 U.S.C. 512(c)(3)(B)) states that if the complaining party does not substantially comply with these requirements the notice will not serve as actual notice for the purpose of Section 512.

Section 512(d)(3), which applies to "information location tools" such as search engines and directories, incorporates the above requirements; however, instead of the identification of the allegedly infringing material, the notification must identify the reference or link to the material claimed to be infringing.


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Question: Who may hold a copyright?

Answer: A copyright ordinarily vests in the creator or creators of a work (known as the author(s)), and is inherited as ordinary property. Copyrights are freely transferrable as property, at the discretion of the owner. 17 U.S.C.


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Question: What rights are protected by copyright law?

Answer: The purpose of copyright law is to encourage creative work by granting a temporary monopoly in an author's original creations. This monopoly takes the form of six rights in areas where the author retains exclusive control. These rights are:

(1) the right of reproduction (i.e., copying),
(2) the right to create derivative works,
(3) the right to distribution,
(4) the right to performance,
(5) the right to display, and
(6) the digital transmission performance right.

The law of copyright protects the first two rights in both private and public contexts, whereas an author can only restrict the last four rights in the public sphere. Claims of infringement must show that the defendant exercised one of these rights. For example, if I create unauthorized videotape copies of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and distribute them to strangers on the street, then I have infringed both the copyright holder's rights of reproduction and distribution. If I merely re-enact The Wrath of Khan for my family in my home, then I have not infringed on the copyright. Names, ideas and facts are not protected by copyright.

Trademark law, in contrast, is designed to protect consumers from confusion as to the source of goods (as well as to protect the trademark owner's market). To this end, the law gives the owner of a registered trademark the right to use the mark in commerce without confusion. If someone introduces a trademark into the market that is likely to cause confusion, then the newer mark infringes on the older one. The laws of trademark infringement and dilution protect against this likelihood of confusion. Trademark protects names, images and short phrases.

Infringement protects against confusion about the origin of goods. The plaintiff in an infringement suit must show that defendant's use of the mark is likely to cause such a confusion. For instance, if I were an unscrupulous manufacturer, I might attempt to capitalize on the fame of Star Trek by creating a line of 'Spock Activewear.' If consumers could reasonably believe that my activewear was produced or endorsed by the owners of the Spock trademark, then I would be liable for infringement.

The law of trademark dilution protects against confusion concerning the character of a registered trademark. Suppose I created a semi-automatic assault rifle and marketed it as 'The Lt. Uhura 5000.' Even if consumers could not reasonably believe that the Star Trek trademark holders produced this firearm, the trademark holders could claim that my use of their mark harmed the family-oriented character of their mark. I would be liable for dilution.


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Question: What kinds of things are copyrightable?

Answer: In order for material to be copyrightable, it must be original and must be in a fixed medium.

Only material that originated with the author can support a copyright. Items from the public domain which appear in a work, as well as work borrowed from others, cannot be the subject of an infringement claim. Also, certain stock material might not be copyrightable, such as footage that indicates a location like the standard shots of San Francisco in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Also exempted are stock characters like the noisy punk rocker who gets the Vulcan death grip in Star Trek IV.

The requirement that works be in a fixed medium leaves out certain forms of expression, most notably choreography and oral performances such as speeches. For instance, if I perform a Klingon death wail in a local park, my performance is not copyrightable. However, if I film the performance, then the film is copyrightable.

Single words and short phrases are generally not protected by copyright, even when the name has been "coined" or newly-created by the mark owner. Logos that include original design elements can be protected under copyright or under trademark. Otherwise, words, phrases and titles may be protected only by trademark, however.


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Question: What is copyright infringement? Are there any defenses?

Answer: Infringement occurs whenever someone who is not the copyright holder (or a licensee of the copyright holder) exercises one of the exclusive rights listed above.

The most common defense to an infringement claim is "fair use," a doctrine that allows people to use copyrighted material without permission in certain situations, such as quotations in a book review. To evaluate fair use of copyrighted material, the courts consider four factors:


  1. the purpose and character of the use
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work
  3. the amount and substantiality of copying, and
  4. the market effect.

(17 U.S.C. 107)

The most significant factor in this analysis is the fourth, effect on the market. If a copier's use supplants demand for the original work, then it will be very difficult for him or her to claim fair use. On the other hand, if the use does not compete with the original, for example because it is a parody, criticism, or news report, it is more likely to be permitted as "fair use."

Trademarks are generally subject to fair use in two situations: First, advertisers and other speakers are allowed to use a competitor's trademark when referring to that competitor's product ("nominative use"). Second, the law protects "fair comment," for instance, in parody.


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Question: What is a domain name?

Answer: A domain name is a name associated with a particular computer online. In the domain name www.chillingeffects.org, .org is the top-level domain ("TLD"), chillingeffects is the second-level domain name, and www is a subdomain. Domain names are looked up on name servers in the DNS hierarchy to resolve them to numerical IP addresses.

A domain name registration, like a telephone directory listing, is simply a service by which the domain registry agrees to list your domain name and the corresponding IP address in its domain zone file (such as the .com zone file). The routers that forward data bits around the Internet must consult these zone files to know which machine you're using. If the registry removes the domain name from the zone file, then routers (and users) will not be able to address mail or see your website if they use your domain name. They can, however, still reach you by using your IP address.

There are over 250 top level domains (like .com, .us and .uk). Each has its own procedures for handling registrations and trademark disputes.


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Question: Does a cease and desist letter recipient have a duty to remove materials alleged to infringe copyright?

Answer: The cease and desist letter gives its recipient ("you") notice that someone is claiming something you've done or something on your site infringes a copyright. If the materials that are the subject of the notice are in fact infringing, then you do have a duty to remove them, although there may be statutory provisions (DMCA Safe Harbor) that protect you from a lawsuit if the materials were posted by someone else. You may have to give the poster notice of the complaint.

If you do not believe that the materials are infringing, or if you believe that you are making fair use of the materials, you may choose to take the risk of not removing the materials, but a lawsuit might follow in which the complainer tries to prove they they are right and you are wrong. If the accuser obtains a court order, then you must take down the materials.


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Question: Does a cease and desist letter recipient have a duty to remove materials alleged to infringe copyright?

Answer: The cease and desist letter gives its recipient ("you") notice that someone is claiming something you've done or something on your site infringes a copyright. If the materials that are the subject of the notice are in fact infringing, then you do have a duty to remove them, although there may be statutory provisions (DMCA Safe Harbor) that protect you from a lawsuit if the materials were posted by someone else. You may have to give the poster notice of the complaint.

If you do not believe that the materials are infringing, or if you believe that you are making fair use of the materials, you may choose to take the risk of not removing the materials, but a lawsuit might follow in which the complainer tries to prove they they are right and you are wrong. If the accuser obtains a court order, then you must take down the materials.


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Question: What is copyright protection?

Answer: A copyright protects a literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, pictoral or graphic, audiovisual, or architectural work, or a sound recording, from being reproduced without the permision of the copyright owner. 17 U.S.C.


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Question: What may be copyrighted?

Answer: In order to be copyrightable, a work must be

1. fixed in a tangible medium of expression ; and
2. original.

Copyrights do not protect ideas, procedures, processes, systems, methods of operation, concepts, principles, or discoveries: they only protect physical representations. 17 U.S.C.


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Question: What constitutes copyright infringement?

Answer: Subject to certain defenses, it is copyright infringement for someone other than the author to do the following without the author's permission:

1. reproduce (copy) the work;

2. create a new work derived from the original work (for example, by translating the work into a new language, by copying and distorting the image, or by transferring the work into a new medium of expression);

3. sell or give away the work, or a copy of the work, for the first time (but once the author has done so, the right to sell or give away the item is transferred to the new owner. This is known as the "first sale" doctrine: once a copyright owner has sold or given away the work or a copy of it, the recipient or purchaser may do as she pleases with what she posesses.) 17 U.S.C. ?109(a);

4. perform or display the work in public without permission from the copyright owner. 17 U.S.C. ?106. It is also copyright infringement to violate the "moral rights" of an author as defined by 17 U.S.C. 106A. Moral rights are discussed here.


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Question: What does "under penalty of perjury" mean?

Answer: Law.com offers a good definition of perjury: "Perjury is the the crime of intentionally lying after being duly sworn (to tell the truth) by a notary public, court clerk or other official. This false statement may be made in testimony in court, administrative hearings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, as well as by signing or acknowledging a written legal document (such as affidavit, declaration under penalty of perjury, deed, license application, tax return) known to contain false information. Although it is a crime, prosecutions for perjury are rare, because a defendant will argue he/she merely made a mistake or misunderstood."


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