Law Forum : Copyright Infringement versus Fair Use


Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2009
Destee, I find it so ironic that you opened this Law Forum.

I know this is a delicate subject in light of the recent happenings.

And I'm not attacking anyone, but I did wonder to myself if you were fully aware of the legal ramifications and connections between plagiarism and Copyright Infringement.

Again, I'm not attacking. I'm just putting this information out there.

Especially with the use of the Internet, people should be informed on what "plagiarism" is, what "copyright infringement" is, and what "Fair Use" is.

Here is the website for the U.S. COPYRIGHT OFFICE:

Jan 22, 2001
betwixt and between
Website Consultant
Sister CherryBlossom ... this is a great thread, and the perfect place for it, our new forum!

No, i'm not versed in the law, as it relates to such. Our rule has nothing to do with the law, for i don't know it, and am not trying to make sure everyone abides by it. Our rule comes from our "core foundational piece," in that, we just want to respect the property of our Sisters and Brothers.

We have a Poetry Forum here, and from the beginning, i've always been protective of our Poet's work, what Members share here. Of course, i have no control if someone comes here, and takes the work of our Members, and claims it as their own ... but it was my hope ... that if we honored the position we do, it would put us in a much better place to receive like consideration.

It was just a hope for us ... to learn to respect each other's property enough, to ask before using it. Like we'd ask if we needed our neighbor's lawnmower, and not just go and take it, and use it, without permission.

Our rule has nothing to do with the law, and everything to do with respect.

Here's a thread i posted in 2002 ... Copyright Information Links ... that may be helpful as well (i've also moved it to this new forum).

But knowing the law, and how it deals with it, is important and perfect for this forum!

Thanks for sharing!




Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2009
How do I get permission to use somebody else's work?
You can ask for it. If you know who the copyright owner is, you may contact the owner directly. If you are not certain about the ownership or have other related questions, you may wish to request that the Copyright Office conduct a search of its records or you may search yourself. See the next question for more details.

How can I find out who owns a copyright?
We can provide you with the information available in our records. A search of registrations, renewals, and recorded transfers of ownership made before 1978 requires a manual search of our files. Upon request, our staff will search our records at the statutory rate of $150 for each hour. There is no fee if you conduct a search in person at the Copyright Office. Copyright registrations made and documents recorded from 1978 to date are available for searching online. For further information, see Circular 22, How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work, and Circular 23, Copyright Card Catalog and the Online File.

How can I obtain copies of someone else's work and/or registration certificate?
The Copyright Office will not honor a request for a copy of someone else's protected work without written authorization from the copyright owner or from his or her designated agent, unless the work is involved in litigation. In the latter case, a litigation statement is required. A certificate of registration for any registered work can be obtained for a fee of $40. Circular 6, Access to and Copies of Copyright Records and Deposit, provides additional information.

How much of someone else's work can I use without getting permission?
Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports. There are no legal rules permitting the use of a specific number of words, a certain number of musical notes, or percentage of a work. Whether a particular use qualifies as fair use depends on all the circumstances. See FL 102, Fair Use, and Circular 21, Reproductions of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians.

How much do I have to change in order to claim copyright in someone else's work?
Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create, a new version of that work. Accordingly, you cannot claim copyright to another's work, no matter how much you change it, unless you have the owner's consent. See Circular 14, Copyright Registration for Derivative Works.

Somebody infringed my copyright. What can I do?
A party may seek to protect his or her copyrights against unauthorized use by filing a civil lawsuit in federal district court. If you believe that your copyright has been infringed, consult an attorney. In cases of willful infringement for profit, the U.S. Attorney may initiate a criminal investigation.

Could I be sued for using somebody else's work? How about quotes or samples?
If you use a copyrighted work without authorization, the owner may be entitled to bring an infringement action against you. There are circumstances under the fair use doctrine where a quote or a sample may be used without permission. However, in cases of doubt, the Copyright Office recommends that permission be obtained....


Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2009

Clyde C Coger Jr

Well-Known Member
Nov 17, 2006
In the Spirit of Sankofa,

Brad Shear, a Washington-area attorney and blogger who is an expert on social media, said the message was "misleading and not true." He said that when you agree to Facebook's terms of use you provide Facebook a "non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any content you post. You do not need to make any declarations about copyright issues since the law already protects you. The privacy declaration [in this message] is worthless and does not mean anything.", a site dedicated to clearing up fallacies on the Internet, reminds Facebook users of that same thing. "Facebook users cannot retroactively negate any of the privacy or copyright terms they agreed to when they signed up for their Facebook accounts nor can they unilaterally alter or contradict terms instituted by Facebook simply by posting a contrary legal notice on their Facebook walls."

Ignore the 'Copyright' Facebook Post

"In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!"
You may have seen that very message pop up -- perhaps time and time again -- in your Facebook feed. The message has been making the rounds on the social network. It encourages people to copy and paste the text and post it on their own walls if they want to be placed "under protection of copyright laws."


ABC News - Ignore the 'Copyright' Facebook Post (ABC News)

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