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Questions tagged [copyright]

For questions about the property right inherent in a creative work. Please see the tag wiki and FAQ before asking the question.

47
votes
9answers
19k views

How is it possible for millions to use pirated software at home and never get arrested?

It's not like talking about using weeds that you tell your friends about but you don't go in public shouting about it. Instead people go to online forums sometimes posting with their real names- ...
46
votes
5answers
15k views

Is it illegal to infringe copyright if your boss or your client ordered you to do it?

The first possible scenario is this: suppose you work in a company, and you need to install some software for a client. The software needs to be purchased, but the boss tells you to just download it ...
44
votes
4answers
7k views

Do we have to take down the material for 14 days even if the DMCA notice is erroneous?

A very large site and my site are both licensed to use product images created and photographed by the same vendor. Now the large site comes after my site and sends a DMCA notice to my hosting provider,...
43
votes
2answers
14k views

Is it illegal to backup your hard drive if you have copyrighted software on it?

Is it illegal if you create a backup of an HDD that has copyrighted software installed on it? This could be anything from legally purchased games and or expensive popular graphics/video editing ...
28
votes
4answers
7k views

Why register a logo as trademark if copyright protects it?

If everything I created is protected by the copyright; No one can use it without my permission. Why would I need to register it as a trademark to protect it? If something is too simple to create, it ...
23
votes
3answers
4k views

Does this image with a subject containing graffiti in the background infringe on the graffiti artist's copyright?

Here's the image in question: Basically, the subject in the foreground is showcasing a company's product for an advertisement. The graffiti holder has argued that the image infringes on their ...
22
votes
6answers
12k views

How can saying a song's name be a copyright violation?

I received an E-mail newsletter inviting me to watch a chorus perform several songs that were arranged for this occasion. They are also selling tickets, so I don't know if half of the profit is sent ...
21
votes
4answers
6k views

Is it legal for Americans to buy music/movies from those really cheap web sites based in Ukraine?

There are several web sites out there that sell MP3 music files for 10 cents each and FLAC music files for 30 cents each. At least one site even sells Hollywood movies (AVI, MKV) from $0.99 (low ...
21
votes
2answers
808 views

Is downloading copyrighted music for private use legal in Canada?

In 2003, the Copyright Board of Canada released this opinion. They held that downloading a music file for private use was okay, no matter the source: There is no requirement in Part VIII that ...
20
votes
6answers
4k views

Prove my work is not a trade secret violation

I have recently developed a medical software application. One of my previous employers X (from 4 years ago) sells a similar application. (You can see where this is going.) X is now alleging that I ...
20
votes
2answers
4k views

Trademark violation for app?

I've just received an email from a Turkish app developer who believes my app infringes on his trademark. I've done some reading and read that essentially I'm not allowed to violate any patents or ...
19
votes
5answers
8k views

How much of this image do I need to modify in order to avoid copyright violation?

There is a browser game that I want to port the Android. The problem is I do not want to use the same image assets because of copyright violations. Would this example be enough to prevent a ...
19
votes
3answers
762 views

Does the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence allow you to specify exactly how attribution must be given?

Prompted by this Meta Stack Exchange discussion Stack Exchange uses the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license for user contributions. But in the footer of every page is a link ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

Why does browser cache not count as copyright infringement?

My browser is saving a copy of the web pages I visit on my computer. How is that not copyright infringement? in this answer I read: I would hazard a guess that displaying an HTML webpage online is ...
17
votes
4answers
8k views

Can numbers be illegal?

This video explaining this wikipedia article says that possessing a particular number can be illegal. Is this true? From the article (internal links and formatting removed): An illegal prime is a ...
17
votes
2answers
972 views

Is downloading a torrent chunk copyright infringement?

A torrent works by breaking a file into small chunks, each of which can be shared between peers. This speeds up downloads because peer A could be sharing chunk 1 with you while peer B could be sharing ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Could asking an author for a copy of their research article be illegal?

I've been following an interesting Twitter conversation which raised the idea that merely asking a researcher for a copy of a paper they've written could be against the law. From the linked tweet: ...
16
votes
3answers
19k views

Is downloading YouTube videos legal?

I've always been under the assumption that doing such was illegal. I don't see any difference between downloading music from YouTube and downloading music from The Pirate Bay. Apparently, there is ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Which jurisdiction applies to copyright violations on the internet?

A person residing in country A takes a work by an artist in country B and puts it onto a website they own but which is hosted in country C which is intended for an audience of people in country D. ...
14
votes
6answers
1k views

Can one take BSD licensed code and distribute it under GPL?

Prompted by https://opensource.stackexchange.com/questions/304/can-i-take-bsd-licensed-code-and-distribute-it-under-gpl. The OP asks: Can I take code which is licensed under a permissive open ...
14
votes
1answer
400 views

School tricking/forcing students to create content for school's website

A Computer Engineer school (which shall remain anonymous) has issued an assignment to almost every student, which is to produce a short (3-5min) tutorial of a given student-specific subject. The ...
13
votes
2answers
4k views

Is it legal to buy second-hand vinyls?

I live in a town that has lots of second-hand stores that sell second-hand vinyl records, tapes, etc, for incredibly low prices. I recently bought the soundtrack from A Clockwork Orange for 1 dollar ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

In the US, when is fair use a defense to copyright infringement?

What is fair use in the US? When would it be a successful defense to copyright infringement?
13
votes
1answer
271 views

Sputnik-era NSF-funded books: is this a license?

In 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, which also had the unintended side effect of launching frantic attempts in the US to reform math and science education. A common pattern in these efforts ...
12
votes
2answers
20k views

Is it legal to publish email that someone sent to me?

I'm not asking whether it is ethical - that would be a totally different question. I'm asking whether it is legal? In my book - in my way how I interpret consensual reality - once I press SEND ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Can you be accused of hotlinking/copyright violation if you use an iframe?

Can you be accused of hotlinking or copyright infringement if you use an iframe (web element) of another website? Can you be sued for this if the website doesn't prevent iframe using and doesn't ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Is WINE illegal?

Is WINE (WINE Is Not an Emulator) illegal? Given that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has held in Oracle v. Google that APIs are copyrightable, is WINE (which reproduces the Windows ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Can infringement of a trademark be pursued for using a company's name in a sentence?

If I have a sentence on my business website stating something similar to "Mr. Smith participated in the process that ended with Pepsi acquiring Silly Sally's Sodas" Is this a basis for ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Is the U.S. Code copyrighted by the Government?

The age of the internet has brought all of human knowledge to our figure tips, this is only possible because of companies finding profitable reasons for storing all of this information for ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

Why are there so many youtube to mp4 and mp3 download websites online when it is illegal?

If it is illegal to download videos and audios from youtube due to copyright reasons, why are there so many youtube to mp4 and mp3 download websites online? For example http://youtube-mp3.org/, one ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Is a randomly-generated book a violation of copyright?

Let's say I create a computer program that randomly chooses words and records them. Now, this generator spits out an exact word-for-word copy of a non-public-domain book. If I publish this (without ...
11
votes
4answers
310 views

Is it possible to learn who has a copyright? (USA)

To briefly summarize the situation, a video game was made fifteen years ago. Two development companies and one publisher were involved. All three companies have now been sold to other companies, some ...
11
votes
1answer
185 views

Requirement of attribution when reusing Wikipedia articles licensed under CC BY-SA

All of Wikipedia's content is licensed under the CC BY-SA, and Wikipedia encourages fulfilling the attribution requirement for CC BY-SA by linking to the original Wikipedia article, which contains a ...
11
votes
2answers
398 views

To what extent, if any, do I have ownership over, and rights to, works I create on my own time?

I am a software engineer in California. If I create a piece of software, in my own time, using my own equipment, do I own the copyright on that creation, or does my employer? I see things such as "...
11
votes
2answers
730 views

At what point can a computer-generated file infringe copyright?

In general it is illegal to download a copyrighted file without paying the copyright owner. But is having metadata (hash) of the copyrighted material legal? What if I've run a program (like Mathgen)...
11
votes
1answer
125 views

Photograph of side entry french door used in commercial, compensation?

I was recently watching TV, when lo and behold, I saw a picture of my side entry french door in a commercial. The company airing the commercial did install windows in my home 7 years ago, but never ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Restrictions on machine learning models trained on materials licensed with creative commons

My question is somewhat similar to this one, but I am interested in a case where there is no explicit allowance for models that are unable to reconstruct their training data. To be concrete let's ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Can pricing be copyrighted?

Say a service is offered with pricing for 1 hour, 2 hours ... 12 hours. Assume there is some sort of custom calculation used to determine discounts after the first hour (e.g. if the first hour is $100,...
10
votes
1answer
454 views

Does a Creative Commons license allow me to record a cover of a song recording?

If I find a musical sound recording that is licensed under a Creative Commons (CC) license, can I record and distribute my own cover of the song? (Assuming the particular CC license does not carry the ...
10
votes
2answers
262 views

Transferring public domain material into a country where it is still in copyright

I've noticed that, in Australia, books created by authors who've died before 1955 are in the public domain. For example, all of George Orwell's works are available from the University of Adelaide: ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

If one invents a real life portal gun, can Valve sue them for copyright infringement?

I am just curious, whether an owner of an artistic depiction of non-yet-existent device has any rights on that device in case it's actually invented later? Can owner use their rights, if any, to issue ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Can an artist revoke his Creative Commons [CC] content?

Let's say an artist released a photo under a CC licence (for concreteness let's assume the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International). You find the photo interesting and save it for later use, ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it infringement to give a link to a copyrighted file?

Does posting a link to a copyrighted file, such that accessing the linked file would constitute infringement, but where the file itself is not on my servers, constitute any sort of crime or ...
9
votes
2answers
370 views

Relicensing software under GPLv2+ without all contributors

I have software licensed under GPLv2, which I would like to relicense under GPLv2+. Unfortunately, I an unable to contact some of the contributors. Can I proceed, or am I stuck?
9
votes
1answer
482 views

Does copyrighted code protect intellectual property rights on novel algorithms it implements?

Imagine you have come up with a novel algorithm to solve a problem, and have implemented it in, e.g., javascript, and have put its src, along with an appropriate copyright, on a publicly available ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the copyright status of game screenshots?

Game art is under copyright of the designer or their company. When I play the game and take a screenshot, whose is the copyright? Mine, because I played the game to that point and created the ...
9
votes
2answers
700 views

How does “poor man's copyright” work?

In this answer on another SE, it is suggested that the anonymous authors of a piece of software might use a "poor man's copyright" technique to establish that they possessed the work before it was ...
9
votes
1answer
164 views

Is there a copyright on a license agreement

I need a license agreement for a product. Many similar products have their license agreement available online. I would like to take one of the better fitting ones and adapt it to my needs (adapt ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

When is making a subtitle file for a commercial movie legal?

For example, on OpenSubtitles, a website which offers 3.5 million subtitles we can read Disclaimer: These files are NOT illegal warez downloads, we only offer files that we believe we are free to ...
9
votes
1answer
738 views

Is it legal to download movies in Canada?

For years Canada has been known as a Pirates safe haven, but copyright in Canada has been going under huge reform for the past few years, and it's been hard to keep up with all the changes. With the ...