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U.S. White House To Propose New Digital Copyright Laws

 3:51 pm on Feb 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

U.S. White House To Propose New Digital Copyright Laws [news.cnet.com]

The Obama administration has drafted new proposals to curb Internet piracy and other forms of intellectual property infringement that it says it will send to the U.S. Congress "in the very near future."

It's also applauding a controversial copyright treaty known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, saying it will "aid right-holders and the U.S. government to combat infringement" once it enters into effect.

Those disclosures came from a report released today by Victoria Espinel, whom President Obama selected as the first intellectual property enforcement coordinator and was confirmed by the Senate in December 2009. There's no detail about what the proposed law would include, except that it will be based on a white paper of "legislative proposals to improve intellectual property enforcement," and it's expected to encompass online piracy.



 2:06 pm on Feb 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

So I am wondering what all it will entail when the bill is passed. I have been fighting a lot in recent years with competitors stealing my content, but I have not copyrighted it through the USPTO so I am not even sure legally I own the rights to my own work, which is really troubling!


 3:41 pm on Feb 19, 2011 (gmt 0)


> ... but I have not copyrighted it through the USPTO so I am not even sure legally I own the rights to my own work

You should read the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) or, if you're outside the U.S., the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaty (The DMCA is simply the U.S. ratification of the WIPO treaty, so they are tied in with each other).

In a nutshell, by the very act of publishing your work (on the internet in this case), you have copyright to your work. You are entitled to actual damages if someone infringes on your work.

If you take the steps to get a formal copyright through the USPTO and other signatory nation's governmental bodies, then in addition to actual damages you are further entitled to punitive damages.

So, if it's your own work and you publish it, then you own the copyright. The important difference between registered and unregistered copyrights is the level of compensation for infringement.

Do take care to learn what is copyrightable (e.g. original editorial content, photos, and art, etc.) and what is not (facts, page layout, etc.). Most problems occur because people read the DMCA/WIPO treaty and copyright description documents to say what they want them to say, rather than what they actually say.



 3:59 pm on Feb 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Jim, thank you for that. I will have to read over both.

I have sent cease and desist order to some of these companies who have basically copied pages of my entire website, including FAQ, facts about our products, etc. I am not sure if this would fall under the category of what is copyrightable or not.

There are a few companies that refuse to change their websites or take down what they have copied form us. The issue then becomes hiring a lawywer which costs more money sometimes than it's worth...

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