Shots of Knowledge: Legally Speaking: Copyright and Fair Use

A copyright is the right to copy, specifically, a property right in an original work of authorship (including literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and architectural works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works; and sound recordings) fixed in any tangible medium of expression, giving the holder the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, distribute, perform, and display the work.

Public Domain in intellectual property law is the universe of inventions and creative works that are not protected by intellectual-property rights and are therefore available for anyone to use without charge. When copyright, trademark, patent, or trade-secret rights are lost or expire, the intellectual property they had protected becomes part of the public domain and can be appropriated by anyone without liability for infringement.

Fair use in copyright is a reasonable and limited use of a copyrighted work without the author’s permission, such as quoting from a book in a book review or using parts of it in a parody. • Fair use is a defense to a copyright infringement claim, of course depending on the following statutory factors: (1) the intent and character of the use, (2) the nature of the copyrighted work, (3) the quantity of the work used, and (4) the economic effect of the use.


One of the foremost instances of Fair Use is in film-making. Filmmakers have been successfully utilizing Fair Use, especially in employing copyrighted material as the object of social, political or cultural critique.

The most common copyright violation is copyright infringement. It would be a violation of copyright law to hold a screening of a movie for the general public without the permission of the copyright holder, for instance. Copyright holders have the exclusive right to make copies of a work, to distribute the work, to perform or display the work publicly and the right to make derivative works based on the original work.





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