“Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution”
When narrowed down into the media industry copyright could be defined 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 authorise others to do the same”
Copyright is having legal privilege to your work or business. The reason for copyright is to stop people stealing what you own and making money out of it when it is rightly yours. In the animation and media industry this means if your work is protected by copyright then nobody can take it and tell people that it is theirs and make people pay to watch it, if your work is protected with copyright then that is against the law.
You may be thinking “how do i get copyright on my work?” well you don’t have to do anything, as soon as you produce anything, a drawing, a script, a storyboard, if it all you then you own the copyright on that piece of work. There are some exceptions, for example if you are producing work for a company then you don’t own the rights to your own work, the company does so if anybody where to copy it then the company would have to deal with it, not you. When this happens it is called “corporate authorship”.
For your work to obtain copyright it must meet minimum standards of originality which means that if your ideas are in any way a different version or a copy of something else you can’t claim copyright on it because it is not completely your idea, for your work to obtain copyright privileges it must be unique to you.
These same rules apply to copyright with other media productions like films and music. The main problem with copyright now is the internet because if somebody steals your work on the internet then it is very hard to track and find them, one of the biggest copyright issues on the internet is streaming films illegally, people manage to make copies of films and put them on free or charging movie websites without asking for permission from the studio that produces the film in the first place. It is with the growing technology in the world that copyright is becoming harder to stop because of sites like these.
Big studios who are very worried about their work being leaked or copied before production can contact the federal copyright act, these are the people responsible for punishing those who go against copyright rules. The reason they would contact the federal copyright act is so that they can state what punishment will be dealt to anybody caught going against the laws of copyright, here are just some of the penalties that you may be charged with in court:
- “Infringer pays the actual dollar amount of damages and profits.”
- “The law provides a range from $200 to $150,000 for each work infringed.”
- “Infringer pays for all attorneys fees and court costs.”
- “The Court can issue an injunction to stop the infringing acts.”
- “The Court can impound the illegal works.”
- “The infringer can go to jail.”
One recent copyright infringement was to do with the 2011 film ‘the hangover 2′, in the film one character gets a tattoo, this tattoo is an exact replica of Mike Tyson’s tattoo. Mike Tyson’s tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros, the company that made ‘The hangover 2’, on April 28th 2011, he said that using his tattoo design without consent was copyright so he took them to court. In the end i don not know what the charges where because on June 17, Warner Bros and Whitmill left court with an “agreement of undisclosed terms.”
Another example in a media form was in the 2008 US election that Barack Obama won, the poster below was produced by Shephard Fairey, the press who took the original photo that Fairey re created held charges that it was copyright without consent. So “The artist and the AP press came to a private settlement in January 2011, part of which included a split in the profits for the work.”