It happens quite more frequently than we like to think-we see a nice quote or picture on the Internet and we include it in our speeches or presentations. Most of the time, we portray the work as our own without realizing that someone is actually the author and might own the copyright to that work. As a result, many Ohio residents end up infringing a copyright without even realizing it.
Copyright infringement takes place when a copyrighted work is reproduced, performed, distributed or displayed without the author’s permission. The author is the person who created the original work and the owner has the copyright in a work unless they have signed a written agreement assigning the copyright to someone else. This usually happens when an author assigns their copyrights to their publisher.
Works for hire operates the same way by creating an exception to the general rule that the copyright resides with the owner. A work that has been prepared by an author for their employer and is within the scope of one’s employment or if the work is commissioned for a specific purpose could be considered a work for hire. In these instances, the employer or the commissioning party would hold the copyright.
If the work is in the public domain, the author would have no longer have copyright protection. Works in the public domain may be freely used by everyone without obtaining the permission of the former copyright owner.
Understanding whether a copyright exists in the first place could be the first step to presenting a defense against a copyright infringement claim. White collar crimes may seem benign at the time but a conviction could carry with it monetary fines and prison time that could adversely affect the trajectory of one’s life. This makes it important to understand your rights and options when it comes to initiating a defense.