What is copyright?

A copyright is legal protection of intellectual property, in whatever medium, that is provided for by the laws of the United States to the owners of copyright. Types of works that are covered by copyright laws include, but are not limited to, literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, film, and multi-media works. Many people understand that printed works, such as books and magazine articles, are covered by copyright laws, but they are not aware that the protection extends to digital files, including music (like mp3), movies (like mp4, avi, flv), electronic books (like epubs), photos (like jpeg, png, gif), software, and unpublished works.

What is the current law concerning digital copyright?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), signed into law in 1998, recognizes that digital transmission of works adds complexity to the copyright laws. The unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject an individual to civil and criminal liabilities. Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes infringement.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

The Rossiter Stretching LLC Policy

Copyright violation is a serious issue because technology makes it possible to copy and transmit protected works over the Rossiter Stretching network. The Rossiter Stretching does not allow the illegal or inappropriate use of material that is subject to copyright protection and covered by state and federal laws. Peer-to-peer sharing (including the download via torrents) is not allowed.

Rossiter Stretching Members, in good standing, are allowed to use the photos and text found on the Rossiter Stretching website, portals and mobile apps for their marketing materials, with use of the appropriate acknowledgements. Students, instructors, practitioners and members should research the origin of all images found on the internet, that they choose to use in their materials on their websites, so they do not violate copyright law.

 For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at http://www.copyright.gov/, especially their FAQ’s at www.copyright.gov/help/faq.