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photoSIG uses United States copyright laws as the standard for resolving any copyright issues on our site. Please note that the law in any individual's jurisdiction may vary significantly. The best recourse if one has questions about their copyrights and/or other intellectual property rights is to consult an attorney.

From the US Copyright Office: www.copyright.gov

WHAT IS COPYRIGHT?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works.

WHAT IS THE PUBLIC DOMAIN?

The public domain is not a place. A work of authorship is in the "public domain" if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner.

WHO MAY PREPARE A DERIVATIVE WORK?

Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create, a new version of that work. The owner is generally the author or someone who has obtained rights from the author. Anyone interested in a work who does not know the owner of copyright may search the records of the Copyright Office.

COPYRIGHT PROTECTION IN A DERIVATIVE WORK

The copyright in a derivative work covers only the additions, changes, or other new material appearing for the first time in the work. It does not extend to any preexisting material and does not imply a copyright in that material.

One cannot extend the length of protection for a copyrighted work by creating a derivative work. A work that has fallen in the public domain, that is, which is no longer protected by copyright, may be used for a derivative work, but the copyright in the derivative work will not restore the copyright of the public domain material. Neither will it prevent anyone else from using the same public domain work for another derivative work. In any case where a protected work is used unlawfully, that is, without the permission of the owner of copyright, copyright will not be extended to the illegally used part.

FAIR USE

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors

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