Infringement of Copyright in Ignorance of Business Ethics

Posted on:August 19, 2010

Nowadays, when science and culture are at the height of their development, it seems that all the possible discoveries have been made, all possible songs have been sung, and all possible books have been written. Indeed, all the mentioned things have already been invented; moreover, all of them today are either under copyright or patent. Because of this , there are strong restrictions for the use of objects under copyright in new research, campaigns, and projects. These restrictions serve as a ground for business ethics, and the neglect of these rules is called copyright infringement.
 
Copyright Infringement: Basic notions
 
In order to avoid the infringement of copyright, it is essential to understand the definition of copyright. The Oxford dictionary defines copyright as “the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same”. Thus, copyright infringement can be defined as an act of neglecting the owner’s rights to use copyrighted material without authorization. Infringement of copyright is associated with assuming the rights for some materials. However, surprisingly, most copyright infringement cases happen by chance; in other words, the accused person is usually unaware of being involved in copyright infringement.
 
Thus, it is important to realize that all the materials, mentioned in the definition of copyright, are the intellectual property of an individual or an organization ( often in the case of assignment), and one should be extremely careful while working with it. Otherwise, he/she can face a risk of being accused of infringement of copyright.
 
Copyright Infringement Vs. The Proper Use of Materials
 
In order to avoid the possibility of infringement of copyright it is important to know how to use the materials legally. The main points to bear in mind for proper use of someone’s intellectual property are that credit must be given to author. This can be dome as follows…
 
Direct Quotes with Quotation marks
 
While quoting someone’s original words in writing, it is essential to use quotation marks, signaling that the words are taken from some other source, and that they do not belong to the author of the writing in which they appear. Moreover, the quotations often need to be shortened, which may distort the initial form of the material, and by this way lead to infringement of copyright. In order to avoid this, one needs to use other symbols, such as square brackets or ellipses (…..), in places where the information had been cut out. The general rule for shortening quotations is to save the main idea of the original material and indicate where some is missing.
 
Paraphrasing
 
One of the most effective ways to avoid copyright infringement is paraphrasing. This method suggests using different lexical units and grammatical forms in order to convey the same idea. Obviously, saving the sense value of the initial message is crucial in paraphrasing. However, paraphrased ideas must still be credited to the original author. This is generally done either by adding some qualifying phrase that credits the original authors and using an intext date citation: e.g. Jeffreys says (2002) that…
 
Name of the Author
 
In cases of both paraphrasing and when using direct quotes with quotation marks, the name of the author needs to be used. If there are several authors, mentioning only one of them is treated as infringement of copyright; therefore, every owner of the copyright has to be named, or within the text one can use et. Al. and the full list is included in the bibliography. In cases of video/music material or graphics or photos being used, the names of authors and the work use have to be mentioned in the captioning data.
 
Referencing
 
In case of the use of some materials in audio, video, or literary works, the sources of the used materials need to be given. In writings the sources are usually given in a reference list; in the case of video and audio materials use, the archives from which they were taken also needs to be mentioned. Remembering these small details will exclude the possibility of infringement of copyright.
 
Copyright infringement avoidance: informal rules
 
Besides the mentioned standards, there are some informal rules, which need to be followed. Specifically, before using a video or audio material for any projects, the owners of the materials are traditionally asked for permission. By contrast, there is no need to ask an author of a literary work before quoting it. However, there are “fair use” exceptions to keep the use to a certain maximum. One cannot quote an entire chapter, for example, without permission from the author.
 
Generally, reviews can use more, but they usually have already gotten permission anyway. A paragraph or two is considered fair use. Stretching these rules will not cause infringement of copyright; however, it may signal the violation of business ethics. Extreme stretching of these rules is copyright infringement. However, it usually requires a court to decide where to draw the line.

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