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Understanding Copyright, Public Domain, and Fair Use

Whether you're a local artist composing your own music or a massive studio filming the next blockbuster all

Creators should understand how copyright public domain and fair use affect their work

Although these legal concepts can be somewhat confusing. We are here to break things down into easily understood language

Keep in mind that this video should not be taken as legal advice. Also, we'll be focusing on copyright in the United States

Copyright is the concept that original works such as writing photos or music

Belong to the people who create them and that you cannot use

Copy modify or publish that work without permission if you violate copyright

It's called copyright infringement. And you may face steep consequences such as lawsuits or criminal charges

The vast majority of movies music books photos and other types of popular media are protected by copyright

Generally those copyrights last for the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years after their death

however, the duration of a copyright can vary due to its publication date and

ever-changing copyright laws

When a work has no copyright protection, it enters the public domain

Content in the public domain can be used

modified and published without permission or restriction

This includes all works published prior to 1923 as well as works with expired copyrights

creators can also place their content in the public domain if they desire

Although you normally need permission to use copyrighted material in your own work. There is an exception called fair use

Fair use allows you to use brief portions of copyrighted works without permission for certain types of use such as criticism

teaching or news reporting

However, fair use can get tricky

for instance

You may not be able to claim fair use if you use the copyrighted work for a commercial purpose or take too much of it

When in doubt always?

Respect the creator's copyright and use as much of your own material as possible to avoid issues

although copyright public domain and fair use can seem like giant complicated subjects

You should now have a better understanding of the basics

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