SteveNelson46 wrote:I think the word "copyright" has lost its meaning on social media. For something to be copyrighted it has to be filed with the U.S patent office. That doesn't mean that one can copy someone else's work and sell it for a profit. Or even give it away. However, in absence of an official patent one would have to file a lawsuit and be able to prove he had the idea first and has suffered a monetary loss. Of course, it's just morally wrong but, going through the expense of proving it may be prohibitive.
Then there is the issue of posting it on social media. Some seem to think that "if I say I don't want it copied then it's copyrighted". In my mind, if someone gives their work away on a public website there can be no issue.
You have the Patent Office and the Copyright Office a bit confused.
And no, you do not have to prove a monetary loss.
The only time a person has to file a lawsuit is when he has NOT registered an original idea with the Copyright Office. However, a person using the material can file a lawsuit claiming what is known as "prior art".
Merely putting something on line is not the same as putting it in the public domain. On line is no different than putting one's work in a book or magazine. Those are public areas but being in that public area does not give anyone the right to copy material.
I was very involved with copyright issues when I wrote software. It is a complex subject, especially when it comes to issues like 'prior art".
An interesting one was some guy in Virginia had copyrighted the process of using a software program to calculate sheet metal layouts and developments. Those methods have been in books for over a hundred years, but he claimed using a computer to do the calculations was a valid copyright. Incredibly a court upheld his copyright and for years anyone doing that work on a computer screen had to pay him royalties. Essentially enforcing his copyright became his full time job. I know this from first hand experience with him. I had no idea someone had copyrighted how to calculate the intersection of two pipes. His attorney contacted us and sure enough our attorneys said "pay the man his money" after researching the history. And get this, that copyright lasts for 70 years AFTER he dies. Patents only last for about 20 years depending on various things.
Edit: I just did a bit of research and I am pretty sure he has passed away but am not sure if his heirs are pursuing companies these days.
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