Copyright Basics

aaairep***There she is again, but this time with less of a scowl- maybe she's opening up to you?? Hard to tell, she still keeps a pretty straight face on.***

Hey, Visitor... I gotta admit you're doing pretty good!

Listen, we need to talk about copyright. There's a lot of confusion about it and we want to clear it all up.

Hey Visitor... We're using a lot of images in here, so I wanted to give you some basics on Copyright.

Ultimately, I'd like to see you ALWAYS using your own images and such, but when you're learning, and you're NOT going to share the work, it's OK to practice with copyrighted material.

Besides, Visitor, you're still just a BOOTer! ;)

CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO on copyright- AND THEN WATCH THIS ONE by youtube. It's really well done. It's about videos on youtube obviously, but there is good info there about copyright in general. The rules they follow are pretty closely aligned to your life and how a copyright violation might affect you. Normally, people give you a chance to fix things before they come after you as long as the use was innocent (Stealing games, music, movies, etc- you already know that's not OK. You can get majorly slammed for that!)

Then, WATCH THIS AMAZING SUMMARY of the hows and whys of copyright law. It's the best quick summary of copyright laws, reasons, and problems I've ever seen.

Next, check out this info on FAIR USE. That's the law that protects the fair use of material for education and personal growth.

If your use of the copyrighted material is NOT for profit, and it’s also “TRANSFORMATIVE”- meaning that it is a new meaning or new expression of something creative other than the original, you’re OK. If you’re not making any money selling the thing, and it’s changed enough from the original that people won’t stop buying the original and just use yours… you’re probably OK.

Fact or Fiction?
Generally, if the information you’re using is factual, you have much less chance of being in violation of copyright. You can’t copyright facts and then sue someone who stumbles across the same fact… because the fact existed before you. But your creative telling of the facts in a book, video, song, etc. CAN be copyrighted. You’re copyrighting the WAY you say it, not the thing you’re saying. Creative works enjoy much more protection under the law. The more creative and unique, the more likely you can be sued for copyright violation if you use it.

Another important factor in copyright is how much of something is used… It’s gotta be substantial. So if you MUST use an image, it’s OK to use a part of it… as long as you’re not really taking the “heart” of the work- the kind of cool, defining thing about it. Using a complete logo or a huge part of a graphic and just modifying it some doesn’t make it yours. Get inspired, and copy an idea- but not someone’s art.

Here’s the real bottom line- COLD HARD CASH. If your use of the thing limits another person who created the original from making money off of their art- you can count on being in violation of copyright. Movies, games, and music is a perfect example- you prevent the artist from making money selling CD’s if you give copies to friends or take copies from them. The artist won’t sell copies of their stuff to people that already have copies.

It's all fairly simple. Now, to complete this mission, just click the button below. This verifies that you listened to AND UNDERSTAND the copyright rules for artists on the GRID.

Great job, Visitor! You've got a grip on this! It's really not that tough, once you just think about it.

Now, with all that being said... in here, we believe in RADICAL OPENESS  like Jason Silva (blocked at school) discusses...

Now to claim mastery, you'll have to post on YOUR BLOG about the issue of copyright (Post under the "Boot" category). Be sure to summarize it all, and DO NOT copy from this page or any other! It would be kinda goofy to violate copyright in your own work explaining that you understand copyright!

What are your thoughts and opinions on copyright? You should have at least a couple paragraphs to claim mastery. Answer the following questions:

  • Why do you think there are copyright laws?
  • What do you think is the reason the government made "Fair Use" laws? What does it promote?
  • If nobody honored copyright, what do you think would happen?

It must be a COMPLETE entry- not a summary, Visitor! This is a medium mission, you'll get credit for it!


Once you have this mission documented with a Blog Post, GET THE DOCUMENT LINK FOR YOUR POST AND PASTE IT IN THE BOX BELOW. (Here's how) You can not claim mastery without a blog post!

Awesome job, Visitor!

Your blog is really starting to roll!! It will be YOUR creative expression and I can't wait to see more. We are a team in here, Like I help you, I hope to see you helping others grow as artists.

Right now it's a little restrictive. TOP has rules at first. But when you get your name, and prove your dedication to the GAME- Top will open it all up and you'll have TONS of freedom!! Be sure to prove you can handle it!

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