Week 9 – Copyright

This week we delved into the world of copyright.

In essence, copyright covers anything that is created by people – it is intellectual property. We learnt the differences between original copy-written work and derivative works. Derivative work is like an offshoot of an original work, like the original but edited a little.

Good examples of derivative work include:

Adaptations of books into films, books into plays, plays into films etc. However, it is only the things that have given the derivative a different object that allows those elements to possess a separate copyright.

Under a copyleft type licence work is made freely available, and often, depending on the discretion of the creator of the original data, can be used for commercial gain as well.

While copyright and intellectual property are complicated subjects that have many different dimensions, some developers are attempting to tackle the tricky subject by working within it’s parameters without getting too deep.

For example; Project Gutenberg takes written material now in the public domain, and digitizes it so that it is available online. The project pays special attention to the correct attribution to the relevant authors, so that they can be referenced if so needed. It is important to note however that Project Gutenberg takes material solely from the public domain (ie it’s copyright protection has expired) so they cannot be liable for infringement.

highqualityPictured above: Some of the permission-labeling symbols of the creative commons licence (1)


As a photographer myself, I would definitely side with those advocating the Creative Commons licence – it makes the rules more clear-cut on how someone can use other people’s material, plus it helps the spread of information! In my opinion, laws like the digital millennium act stifle creativity and have become obsolete in the information age where the instantaneous transfer of information is irrepressible.

For the Lab section of our class we were tasked with going back over our previous blog posts and attributing the necessary credits if we had used media or information that was other people’s intellectual property, using the tool Citation Machine.  Check it out!





(1) Creative Commons Sverige. (n.d.). Retrieved April 13, 2016, from http://www.creativecommons.se/kontakt/for-press/




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