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.

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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- ...
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47 votes
4 answers
17k 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 ...
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46 votes
4 answers
8k 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,...
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46 votes
2 answers
17k 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 ...
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36 votes
3 answers
9k views

Can I use my own Stack Exchange answer in a book?

I’ve seen some similar questions, but was wondering about a more specific case. I wrote a Stack Exchange answer, and would like to use it in one section of a book I’m writing (which will be ...
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36 votes
2 answers
4k views

Legality of creating a SE replica using SE's content

Due to the recent controversy(s) regarding StackExchange, a couple other users and I were discussing the legality of creating a copy of SE and scraping the content. If we did not copy SE's actual ...
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  • 461
32 votes
2 answers
9k views

Why does Disney omit the year in their copyright notices?

I was trying to sort a stack of movies chronologically. Most boxes contain a copyright notice e.g. “(c) 1985 Acme Pictures LLC“. However, Walt Disney Pictures consistently omits the year, e.g. “(c) ...
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31 votes
5 answers
9k views

Lawyer says bumping software’s minor version would cost $2k to “refile” copyright paperwork. Is this typical?

I work at a small company as a software engineer. I have very little knowledge of copyright law, so forgive me for my naïveté. Recently, my company started filing paperwork and handing over several ...
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31 votes
4 answers
8k 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 ...
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31 votes
3 answers
9k views

Can an open source licence be revoked if it violates employer's IP?

Suppose a developer's contract says that all intellectual property (IP) rights to her code belong to her UK employer. While employed, she develops a library and open-sources it under the Apache 2.0 ...
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30 votes
1 answer
8k views

How Can NASA Images/Videos Not Be Copyrighted?

NASA content - images, audio, video, and computer files used in the rendition of 3-dimensional models, such as texture maps and polygon data in any format - generally are not copyrighted. https://www....
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29 votes
2 answers
3k views

Copyright a Land Feature?

This sign is posted on private property in New Mexico, USA at: 35.47212, -106.15719 COPYRIGHT NOTICE Photos and videos taken of Lone Butte Mountain may not be directly or indirectly published, ...
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29 votes
4 answers
5k 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 ...
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28 votes
6 answers
10k views

Who owns copyright on works found in a storage unit/attic?

So in this question the OP bought the contents of a storage unit whose owner had failed to keep up with payments. In it they found an unpublished manuscript, which they thought was pretty cool and ...
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28 votes
3 answers
5k views

Resume Writer asks: Who owns the copyright - me or my client?

I'm a professional resume writer (among other things). Clients regularly pay me to completely overhaul their resumes. Over the years I've amassed a large collection of well-written resumes. I would ...
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27 votes
2 answers
8k views

Is a list of the most common English words copyrightable under US law?

I am currently interested in doing some research performing various measurements and algorithms on the most common words in the English language. I have found a few good word lists online that would ...
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  • 371
25 votes
3 answers
4k views

Is simple possession of a copyright-infringing item legal in the USA?

There are quite a few laws in the USA (mostly at the Federal level) governing copyright and how to handle infringement. Most of these laws seem to establish criminal and/or civil liability for the act ...
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24 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
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23 votes
6 answers
15k 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 ...
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23 votes
3 answers
4k views

Can someone replicate and freely use anyone's voice using AI?

Suppose person A offers paid voiceover services, and is a popular voiceover artist. Person B wants person A's voice for their revenue-generating internet video projects, because they know it will ...
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  • 341
23 votes
3 answers
5k 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 ...
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  • 333
23 votes
3 answers
30k 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 ...
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  • 809
22 votes
4 answers
12k views

Are computer programs copyrightable work?

If the platform is not open-source, is the computer program copyrightable?
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  • 375
22 votes
2 answers
2k views

Other use of profile photos: legality fair-use and permissions

I'm building an app that works across mobile devices and browsers. There is a chat component and I will be showing the profile photos that I find on the user's phone book (not from the image folders). ...
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22 votes
6 answers
5k 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 ...
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22 votes
1 answer
5k views

Does copyright law protect a translation of an ancient work from being translated into a third language?

Jurisdiction: California, USA. If a book was written in Greek two thousand years ago, and someone translated it into English more recently (say, yesterday), and then someone else wants to translate ...
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22 votes
4 answers
4k views

Are works created by US government employees in the performance of their duties treated as public domain outside the US?

Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred ...
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22 votes
4 answers
10k 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 ...
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21 votes
4 answers
8k views

Can freelancers publish code in GitHub and claim it to be theirs?

I am curious to know the legal process of a collaborated effort for a code at a small startup. Say I am the technical head of a startup, and I have about 90% of the code/commits. The other 10% is by ...
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21 votes
4 answers
7k views

Why is this contract worded like a client is talking to himself?

I'm looking at a sample contract for a graphic designer who is planning on doing freelance work. I don't understand why it says that the Client should obtain all copyright permissions for materials ...
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21 votes
2 answers
5k 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 ...
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  • 321
21 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
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20 votes
4 answers
8k views

Is it legal to completely retell a film in text?

Let's say I watched a film and I really liked it. Now I want to tell my subscribers on Facebook the entire plot of the film. I don't use the real script of the film. I create a post where I retell the ...
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20 votes
2 answers
9k views

How can a different company make a sequel if the original game company goes bankrupt?

Say a game company goes bankrupt but another company wants to make a sequel. Is it possible for the other company to obtain rights to make a sequel? Who would they even contact about this?
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20 votes
2 answers
6k views

Is it legal to download and run pirated abandonware because I'm curious about the software?

Is downloading Windows 95 and running it just because I'm curious about it legal? Purpose and character of the use: it's noncommercial, and I am doing it to learn about the software, but I'm not sure ...
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19 votes
5 answers
9k 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 ...
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  • 323
19 votes
5 answers
8k views

Can satellite images be copyrighted?

OpenStreetMap doesn't allow editors to trace satellite imagery from Google, claiming that the imagery is copyrighted and tracing it would be a copyright violation. But how can satellite images be ...
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19 votes
2 answers
2k views

If I have posted my own "homebrew" content on RPG.SE, and plan to publish it (after revising based on feedback), what credits am I required to give?

I have posted numerous homebrew features on Role-playing Games Stack Exchange, and I have used advice gotten from that site to balance most of them. If, one day, I publish the subclass, would I be ...
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19 votes
2 answers
5k views

Is Kali Linux's "Undercover" mode legal?

Kali Linux, a Linux distribution for ethical hackers and penetration testers, has an "Undercover" mode that makes its UI look like Windows 10. It copies the desktop background, Windows logo ...
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18 votes
5 answers
3k views

Can one claim copyright over a compilation of (public) data?

Let's say I build some sort of index, like my own selection of websites for a particular niche of the internet. I publish this as "Almosnow's Best Selection of Nature Websites" (for instance)...
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18 votes
6 answers
2k 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 ...
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17 votes
4 answers
6k views

If I add a copyright disclaimer to my app, am I exempt of charges?

I'm creating a Pokemon Wiki app for Android with a lot of data related to Pokemon, including images, names etc. I've seen in the Google Play store a lot of apps like mine that contains ads and in-app ...
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17 votes
4 answers
9k 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 ...
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  • 307
17 votes
2 answers
45k 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 ...
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17 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
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16 votes
3 answers
7k views

How close to, or how far from, copyright violation is the movie "Gattaca"?

In 1942 a novel appeared: Beyond This Horizon by Robert Heinlein. The setting is a future time when it has become standard that people's genes are chosen from among their parents' genes by doctors, ...
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16 votes
4 answers
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: ...
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  • 321
16 votes
2 answers
8k views

How is internet archiving legal, when it appears to violate many websites terms of use?

Internet archiving services like the internet wayback machine work by rehosting content from other website. However, many websites in their term explicitly disallow people to frame their website or ...
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16 votes
1 answer
2k views

How long does a GPL licencee have to respond to a source code request before it becomes a GPL violation?

I have requested source code for a product that contains software licensed under GPL 2. The product includes a written offer to provide source code if you send a written request by email. The offer is ...
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15 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
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