(844) 815-9632

copyright infringement

3 Ways Unsecured Home Wi-Fi Can Link You to Crime

Unsecured home Wi-Fi is a terrible idea. Not only does participating in an unsecured network leave you wide open to potential cyberattacks, but it can also get you mixed up in a serious criminal case. Here are three reasons to avoid criminal investigation by securing your home Wi-Fi: 1. Pedophiles Can Use Your Wi-Fi, You Get Arrested. Think that title is a bit far-fetched? Just imagine how one New York resident felt in 2011 when federal agents raided his home, leveled assault weapons at him, and accused him of being a child pornographer. What actually happened? A neighbor had used the man's unsecured Wi-Fi to download child porn; agents had incorrectly assumed that the online activity emanated from the Wi-Fi owner's house. Still, the unsuspecting homeowner watched FBI agents search and confiscate his and his wife's computer and mobile devices -- only to be cleared of the charges three days later, reports The Associated Press. The lesson: Protect your home Wi-Fi so that you don't get blamed for criminal activity of your Internet-mooching neighbors. 2. Neighbors Downloading Illegally, but You Get Charged. It may be a long time since the days of Napster piracy suits, but lawsuits over Internet piracy are still alive and well. Ask the 31 Internet users (who have yet to be identified) who are being sued for illegally downloading copies of "Dallas Buyers Club." Not alright, alright, alright. Production companies seek out the IP addresses of downloaders from their Internet service providers (ISPs) -- companies like Comcast and AT&T. These IP addresses, even with unsecured Wi-Fi, are tied to a physical location, typically your router's location. This means that legal demands for copyright infringement will probably be sent to your house. College students often get nabbed by their colleges for using school Internet for piracy because they have a system for tracking down individual users. But without any protection on home Wi-Fi, most homeowners will be stuck defending themselves against piracy charges. 3. Like Hackers? They Love Your Wi-Fi. Although there are some ways to identify unwelcome strangers on an unsecured Wi-Fi network, sophisticated criminals can potentially use homeowners as a shield to mask their illegal activities. There are some ways to protect yourself while surfing public Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, but your home network shouldn't be unsecured. If it is, you leave yourself open to being the target of a state or federal investigation you'll wish you never knew about. Like the hapless New Yorker with unsecured Wi-Fi, you may eventually untangle your innocent self from a legal mess, but why invite the hassle? Secure your home Wi-Fi today. Related Resources: Pa. man sentenced for porn using neighbor's Wi-Fi (The Associated Press) The 10 Most Pirated TV Shows of 2013 (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Illegal Downloads: What Are the Penalties? (FindLaw's Blotter) Apple Security Flaw: Update Software to Thwart Wi-Fi Hackers (FindLaw's Common Law)
continue reading

Getty Makes 35M Images Free for Bloggers’ Use

Getty Images is now allowing bloggers to use 35 million of its images for free as long as they're used for non-commercial purposes. Despite Getty placing a watermark on all its online images, Getty executives are aware that people have been copying and pasting copyrighted pictures without permission. So they've created a new system that allows select Getty images to be embedded on websites, with the proper attributions prominently displayed, Forbes reports. What do bloggers need to know about using Getty's free images? Getty's Free 'Embedded Viewer' Now that Getty is allowing users free access to millions of its images, it's also removing the watermark from the photos it's providing for free. The problem with Getty's old watermark system was that once an image was purchased, the watermark would be removed; once removed and placed on a website, anyone online could copy and paste the image and use it without proper attribution or permission from the original owner. Instead of a watermark, Getty is now allowing bloggers to embed many of its photos -- but only via a new "embedded viewer" tool. The tool drops the image into a blog or website with a footer crediting Getty and linking people to its licensing page, according to Forbes. The footer and link could help reduce copyright infringement because they don't allow users to use the image without including a link to Getty's licensing page. A Reminder About Fair Use Laws Bloggers using Getty's new "embedded viewer" generally won't have to worry about copyright infringement -- as long as they're not using the images for a commercial purpose. (However, Getty doesn't mind if you make a little money off your blog via Google Ads, Forbes reports.) Still, it's important to keep fair use laws in mind when adding images, videos, and other multimedia to your personal (or commercial) website. Fair use allows the use of copyrighted material without permission from the original author under certain circumstances, including: Criticism, News reporting, Comment, Teaching, Parody, and Scholarship and research. For example, if you're a college student researching political issues and you use an image of two politicians at a meeting for your term paper, that's probably protected under fair use law. On the other hand, if a person uses a copyrighted image to advertise his lawn-mowing business, then that's likely to be considered copyright infringement. Even with Getty's free images, using them in advertisements, promotions, or advertising is not allowed. Although 35 million of Getty's stock images are now free for non-commercial use by the public, bloggers don't have free access to Getty's entire collection of images, reports Forbes. For that, you'll still have to pay. Related Resources: The world's largest photo service just made its pictures free to use (The Verge) What Is Fair Use? Consider These 4 Factors (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) What Do Copyright, Trademark Symbols Mean? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Legal How-To: Copyrighting Your Screenplay (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
continue reading

What Is Fair Use? Consider These 4 Factors

The legal doctrine of fair use allows you to use copyrighted material for certain purposes without permission from the copyright owner. Stated otherwise, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use of copyrighted material qualifies as fair use, it would not be considered illegal infringement. To be considered fair use, your copying must be limited and serve a "transformative" purpose. Fair Use Factors To determine whether your use of a copyrighted work is fair, the court will typically perform a balancing test by weighing the following four factors: The purpose and character of your use. Did you copy someone else's work verbatim or did you use it to help create something new? Also, was your use commercial (for-profit) or non-commercial? Courts tend to favor transformative uses and nonprofit uses. The nature of the copyrighted work. Fair use is easier to find with nonfiction works than creative works. Also, it's tougher to get fair use for using copyrighted unpublished works than published ones. The amount or substantiality of the portion used. Generally, the more you use, the less likely it's a fair use. Also, if you use very little of the copyrighted work, but your use "takes the heart" of the copyrighted work, that might not be fair use. The effect of your use on the potential market for, or value of, the original work. If your use competes with the source you're copying from, that will weigh against fair use. Your use should avoid interfering with the copyrighted work's intended market or audience. Common Fair Uses The following uses are generally considered fair: Criticism and commentary, if you're using the copyrighted material for comment or criticism (think music and book reviews). Parody, if you're using copyrighted material to make fun of it, usually by imitating it in a funny way (think "South Park"). News reporting, if you're summarizing or quoting from copyrighted material in a news report. Research and scholarship, if you're summarizing or quoting from copyrighted material for research or academic purposes (namely, to illustrate or a clarify a point you're making). Nonprofit educational uses, if you're using copyrighted material for teaching purposes (think photocopies of passages for use in a classroom). There are no hard-and-fast rules for fair use, making it tough to predict what is and isn't considered fair use. If you have copyright infringement concerns, you may want to consult an experienced intellectual property attorney. Related Resources: 'I Have a Dream': MLK's Estate Has a Copyright (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) What Do Copyright, Trademark Symbols Mean? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Legal How-To: Copyrighting Your Screenplay (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Kanye West Sued For Sample in 'Gold Digger' (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice)
continue reading