Reddit seems to have strong complaints with the film industry and the record industry. Isn`t licensing really the centerpiece? Netflix had recently raised its prices to pay for content licenses for its online streaming service. For all the older movies, why on earth should we pay a company that sits on it, stifles innovation, intimidates people with lawsuits and cashes a paycheck when it`s really distribution companies like Netflix that innovate, do the work of making these media accessible to the masses, and “promoting the common good.” New versions are another matter entirely, but shouldn`t older works be in the public domain? The problem of “orphan works” arose in the United States with the enactment of the Copyright Act of 1976, which eliminated the need to register copyrighted works and instead declared that all “original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression” fall under copyright status. The elimination of registration also eliminated the need for a central registration location to track and identify copyright owners. Potential users of copyrighted works, such as filmmakers or biographers, should therefore assume that many of the works they may use are protected by copyright. Where the intended use would not otherwise be permitted by law (e.g. through fair use), they must investigate the copyright status of each work they wish to use themselves. As there is no central database of copyright owners, it can sometimes be difficult to identify and contact copyright owners. Works that fall into this category can be considered “orphan”. Copyright infringement occurs on a daily basis.
Statistically, you`ve probably infringed someone`s copyright at some point in your life. Read on to learn more about the types of violations and some possible exceptions. For example, an article describing a political theory is protected by copyright. The article is an expression of the author`s ideas on political theory. The theory itself is just an idea and is not protected by copyright. Another author is free to describe the same theory in his own words without infringing the copyright of the original author.  U.S. copyright law was last revised by the Copyright Act of 1976, codified in Title 17 of the United States Code. The U.S. Constitution expressly grants Congress the power to create copyright under Section 1, Section 8, Clause 8, known as the copyright clause.  Under the copyright clause, Congress has the power to “promote the advancement of useful science and arts by guaranteeing authors and inventors exclusive rights to their respective writings and discoveries for a limited period of time.”  The 1976 Act created an intellectual property right that could be registered as a land title and divided at the discretion of the owner.
And for artists and authors with little bargaining power, it offered the promise that, regardless of the agreement, they or their heirs would have the right, at a later date, to stop all copyright transfers and return the rights to them. It also made copyright hereditary and gave the heirs of authors and artists the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of their copyright. You can register your own copyright or your employer can register it for you. If you get paid to write articles, the law assumes that your employer will also pay for your copyright. The company that paid you to write the articles owns the copyright. Unlike copyright, which belongs to an author, corporate copyright lasts 120 years from creation or 95 years from publication, whichever is shorter. A copyright can be registered online on the US Copyright Office website. The Copyright Office reviews requests for obvious errors or missing copyrighted content and issues a certificate of registration.
The Copyright Office does not compare the author`s new work to a collection of existing works or verify counterfeiting. A work can fall into the public domain in several ways. For example, (a) the copyright protecting the work may have expired, or (b) the owner may have expressly donated the work to the public, or (c) the work may not be the type of work that copyright may protect. The government may restrict access to works it has created through other mechanisms. For example, confidential or secret materials are not protected by copyright, but are restricted by other applicable laws. But even for unclassified documents, there are specific prohibitions on automatic access to works that otherwise fall under 17 U.S.C. § 105 for commercial purposes.  Some degree of public use of copyrighted material has taken the form of certain exceptions. The best known and most commonly used is fair use. Based on the concept of free speech, fair dealing allows the use of copyrighted material for things like schools and scientific journals.
Fair dealing also allows for criticism and parody of copyrighted material. To give you an idea of how long this tenure would last, the first feature sound was the “Jazz Singer” in 1923. Suppose the creators of this film lived only 18 years after the making of this film, if the current copyright law had been in force at that time, this film would still be protected by copyright today! Almost all films with sound would fall into this category if current copyright laws had been in effect at the time. Essentially, the entire film industry and all the innovations of the last 100 years would still be private. The totality method, also known as the “Total Concept and Feel” approach, takes the whole work with all the elements involved to determine if there is substantial similarity. This was first formulated in Roth Greeting Cards v. United Card Co. (1970).  The individual elements of the allegedly infringing work may, taken in isolation, be substantially different from their corresponding part of the copyrighted work, but may nevertheless constitute a clear misappropriation of copyrighted material.  In addition to civil remedies, the Copyright Act provides for criminal prosecution in certain cases of intentional copyright infringement.