Copyright Law

Copyright Law and Infringement

What is a copyright?

A copyright is an intellectual property right in an original work of authorship. Each time you create something original — be it a photograph, a piece of writing, or a video — you are simultaneously creating a copyrighted work.

“Original” means you created it yourself — it doesn’t mean that the work has to be groundbreaking. Ideas alone aren’t copyrightable, nor are facts.

Example: You shoot a :30 video of your cat tap dancing in your dad’s favorite bow tie. Congratulations, you’ve just created a totally badass, copyrighted work! And wow, your cat rules.

What does it mean to hold a copyright?

When you create a copyrighted work, you own a certain bundle of rights. These include the rights to copy, distribute, publicly perform, adapt (or make derivative works from), and license the work. You can exercise these rights by yourself and, more importantly, you can prevent other people from exercising them. You can also sell (the legal term is “assign”) your copyrights to another person.

More detail on the rights:

  • Copy = Duplicate all or part of the work in some fashion.
    Example: Burning a video/non-video content file to a DVD, CD or other media stroage device.
  • Distribute = Make copies of the work and make them available to the public in some fashion.
    Example: Making multiple copies of your DVD, CD, and selling them online – or uploading your video/non-video content to SHINSHURI so people can see it.
  • Publicly perform = Exhibit or perform the work in a public setting.
    Example: Screening your vide/non-video content at a theater or event.
  • Adapt = Make a copy of some part of the original work, but refashion or incorporate it in a new work. The resulting work is called a “derivative work.”
    Example: A recut version of your video/non-video content, or a sequel, an edition, or a version.
  • License = Grant other people all or some of the above rights.
    Example: Giving a theater the right to screen your vide/non-video content or giving a distributor the right to distribute your film.

Do I have to register my copyright with the government?

No. When you author a work, you create a copyright that you can use or sell. However, if you want to sue someone to prevent them from using your copyright without permission, then you need to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Pro Tip: The law encourages people to register their copyrights. If you register your copyright before someone infringes upon it, you may have certain additional remedies available to you, like the right to recover statutory damages and attorneys’ fees.

Do I have to include a copyright logo (©) to maintain my copyright?

No. Some people use the logo to let people know a work is copyrighted, but it’s not required.

Can I use someone else’s copyrighted work in my own work?

If you obtain permission (the legal term is a “license”), you can use another person’s copyrighted works as they’ve permitted.

If your use of the material is protected by fair use, you don’t need the copyright holder’s permission.

Are my video/non-video content safe from piracy?

Piracy is one of those unfortunate — and perhaps unavoidable — realities of digital distribution and the Internet. Any media you share online, be it text, images, audio, video, etc. is at risk of being copied and re-used without your permission.

When it comes online video, there are multiple ways for a pirate to “rip” the video file that streams through an online player. There is no foolproof way to prevent this, but there are ways to minimize risk, and there are actions you can take if you believe your work has been stolen. Read through the FAQs below for more information.

Does SHINSHURI use Digital Rights Management (DRM) to keep people from pirating video/non-video content?

“DRM” refers to technology that attempts to control access to digital content after it is released. Restricting the number of times a video file can be played, encrypting it so that it can’t be (easily) copied, and locking it into a proprietary format are all types of DRM.

SHINSHURI does not use any DRM techniques for videos that it hosts. There are several reasons for this:

  • Most importantly, no DRM technology has proven effective. Any technology that is supposed to protect media against illegal copying is typically cracked within days of the technology’s release. Pirates have the time, energy, and inclination to break the DRM on their media of choice. Whether relating to physical CDs and DVDs or digital streams, no form of DRM has fared well against the collective might of pirates.
  • DRM can have a negative impact on playback performance and accessibility, meaning it can make your videos less watchable.
  • Advanced DRM techniques would substantially increase the cost of hosting your videos, and we want SHINSHURI to be as affordable as possible to as many people as possible.

What steps can I take to lower the risk of my video/non-video content being pirated?

Remember: Nothing is foolproof! But there are ways to make pirates work harder to get at your videos.

  • Register your work with content fingerprinting services such as Audible Magic and YouTube’s Content ID. Registration increases the chances that unauthorized uploads will be flagged when someone tries to add the video to a major video-sharing website.
  • Disable the download option for your videos. If you’re selling with SHINSHURI On Demand, offer only a “Rent” option.
  • Share your videos only with people you trust. SHINSHURI offers privacy settings, such as password protection and domain-level privacy, to make this easier. Learn more about our privacy options

Can SHINSHURI take action if someone pirates my video/non-video content?

SHINSHURI doesn’t own the copyright to your video/non-video content — you do. You are responsible for enforcing your rights. Since SHINSHURI is merely an intermediary, we can’t take action on your behalf. But don’t worry! We want to help you, and we can point you to the resources at your disposal.

As the copyright owner, what can I do if someone pirates my video/non-video content?

To learn all your options as a rights holder, you should consider consulting an attorney. SHINSHURI can’t offer you legal advice, but we can point you toward resources that you can use to help enforce your rights. One of the easiest tools to use is the notice and takedown procedure provided by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

How do I send a DMCA takedown notice?

Most companies that operate sites that allow users to share content (including SHINSHURI, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr) provide a guided path for submitting DMCA takedown notices against infringing content.

Here are links to a number of relevant DMCA pages:

  • YouTube
  • Daily Motion
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • Microsoft
  • WordPress

Similarly, if a pirated version of your video shows up in Google search results, you can file a DMCA here to get the link removed. For sites that don’t have a built-in DMCA notice process, you will need to construct your own takedown notice. Here are some tips for how to proceed:

  1. Read up on the DMCA takedown process. SHINSHURI’s DMCA page provides a summary of the process. Keep in mind that filing a DMCA notice has legal consequences and you will have to make sworn statements under penalty of perjury. If you are unsure about whether you have the right to file a takedown notice, consult an attorney.
  2. You should carefully consider whether Fair Use or other considerations might apply, or if what you’ve found is an unaltered rip of your material.
  3. Next, determine the host for the site that is sharing your video. Sometimes the host is obvious, but other times you will need to do some detective work. Sites like WhoIsHostingThis can be helpful in gathering this information.
  4. Once you find the host, look for its designated copyright agent. This information is often included in the Terms of Service, Terms of Use, or Legal section linked from the footer of the hosting site. You might be able to find the designated copyright agent on this list.
  5. With this information, you can send the host the takedown notice for your video. Be sure you have fully completed all the required elements. There are several places online that can help you construct a DMCA takedown notice. See here for more info. Email is usually sufficient for sending a DMCA notice, although feel free to send a postal notice as well.
  6. After you send your takedown notice, a DMCA-compliant host will generally remove the identified in an expeditious manner. However, every site has its own procedures that it will likely explain to you upon receipt of your takedown notice.
  7. If needed, repeat the takedown process for all the sites hosting your pirated material.

If you can’t find the designated agent for a particular website, or you don’t receive a response to your notice, you will need to consult with an attorney to explore other options.

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