Dear Episode community,
Today, I have decided to educate those who don’t know or understand copyright laws in the most simplest way possible. It is absolutely vital to read this if you don’t know or understand completely copyright laws.
As a legal student, I feel like I can help other people in understanding law in different countries. I will list government websites and sources that contain information I have used for you to check out later. I will also be looking into Episode’s section of copyright (which can be found at the bottom of your page), and simplifying it the best I can.
If I make any mistakes AT ALL, please correct me and I will look further into it and remedy the mistake.
Part 1: USA’s Copyright laws
The basis of this law is the same as many other nation-states, with the exception to any minor differences.
Copyright protection only applies to a tangible media (exists in a physical form).
Copyright protection does not apply to any intangible media - this could be an idea, process, method, procedure, discovery, etc. (anything that cannot be touched or is not in a physical form).
Compilations and derivative works are only protected if they do not contain preexisting subject matter, and will only protect the media if materials haven’t been used unlawfully.
You do not have any exclusive right in preexisiting material if it has been submitted in your work - only materials you have contributed to your work can be protected.
Basically, as long as you don’t copy another person’s work, your tangible work can be protected under copyright and this can include art, poetry, music, novels, etc. Your work needs to be a result of some creative effort by you.
You can only use an authors work if it is in the public domain - the public domain is availability of materials without copyright restrictions. Works within the public domain are usually the medias with expired copyright protection - protection exceeds 70 years after death.
- a helpful tip: just assume every work is protected by copyright until you establish that it is not (you can do this by checking the date of its publication).
You can use works that are under “fair use”. Fair use are the copyrighted materials that allows you to use them without the permission from the author for the purposes of education, creativity, criticism or teaching.
How to find works under fair use
On Google, under the search bar, go to settings, then advanced search.
Once on the page, scroll down until you see this:
Click the drop down button, and you’ll find fair use. Make sure to press “advanced search” to save it.
- If someone violates the rights of a copyright owner, the owner can go to court for:
- a court order to prevent future violations
- or award attorney fees
Part 2: UK’s copyright laws
Just to note: copyright is the same, however there may be small differences in the law depending on the nation-state.
- Both US and UK copyright laws are overly similar, I will make a few small points regarding UK law that is different from US.
- UK offers the provision “fair dealing”, which simply determines whether the use of copyright material is lawful.
In Episode’s copyright page, they talk about the procedures to rectify the situation if you believe someone has used your work unlawfully or if you believe that your work is not infringing (after receiving a notice of infringement) or has permission by the author (after infringement notice).
It is very important that you read that page in full if it is applicable to you (and even for a fun read ) - it isn’t super long and it’s easy to understand! If you have any questions about that, file a support ticket and the support team will get back to you.
The link to the copyright section is here.
The terms of service can be found here.
I will also link a few threads that talk about the terms of service for those that have more questions (that may correlate with terms of service) and are confused. The terms of service isn’t the point of this thread, and is simply here for reference.
Final note: The purpose of this thread is to spread the IMPORTANCE of knowing and understanding copyright laws. It is applicable anywhere and everywhere, not just on the Episode platform. If you work in journalism, this law is important to know your own rights and your responsibility to respect other people’s rights.
Copyright laws are important when you’re in school - plagiarism isn’t tolerated as it infringes copyright. If you’re a student who has infringed on copyright, you may be susceptible to failing that assessment, as well as the expulsion from your course or university.
Artists have copyright protection, and there have been many instances where people’s work have been completely stolen and republished as the offender’s own work.
It is serious and isn’t a joke (just like any rational law).
If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask.
Thank you for readinggg!
EDIT: Take advantage of websites like Pixabay when looking for backgrounds or overlays! They offer some images free for commercial use. If an artist requires credit, give them credit. It isn’t hard. Read through their terms of service and ensure you are giving proper credit.