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Copyright

From Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia written in simple English for easy reading.

A copyright is a law that gives the creator of a document, musical piece, book, and many more the right to their creation and the control of its release. This protects creators' ability to sell their work. Once copyrighted, a work can only be copied with the creator's permission. Some believe that copyright laws encourage the formation of new ideas by securing the creator's reward for their work and time. Others believe that ideas and inventions evolve and that copyright law stifles progress.

If a work is done for payment then the copyright will often be owned by the person who paid, such as an employer.

In most countries there is no need to register to have copyright; however, unless there is evidence of who created work and when, copyright may be difficult to prove.

If a person copies a copyrighted work without permission they can be punished by the law, usually with a fine. In other more serious cases, the person could be arrested or go to prison.

Some pieces of work aren't copyrighted because they are too old, the author didn't want to keep the copyright, or they were made in a country that has no copyright law. These are called "public domain".

[edit] Fair Use

There is an exception to the rules of copyright called fair use. This says that we can copy a very small amount of something -- maybe one or two sentences, or a picture.

A good example of fair use is within newspapers, where the writers need to show quotes from documents and advertisements to tell the story.

[edit] Copyright in different countries

Different countries have different copyright laws. Most of the differences deal with whether the government's work is copyrighted, how much longer copyright lasts after the author dies, and what is fair use. A piece of work may be copyrighted in one country and public domain in another.

[edit] Problems

This page or section may not use Simple English
Someone thinks that this page or section does not use Simple English.

This does not mean it is bad. It may only be difficult for some users to understand. Editors can help Wikipedia by making the page or section simpler. For tips on making it better, read "How to write Simple English articles".

Some people say that Copyright law is bad. They say it does not work well. If you want to sell something you made, you have to take it to a publisher. But the publisher has many different things to sell. They may not want to sell the thing you made. Or they may sell it but not give all of the money to you. But you cannot stop them. Because without them you cannot sell the thing you made. People say this is very bad. It stops people getting money from selling things they have made. And copyright law does not help.

Some people want to let people see how good their art, music or writing is (sometimes so that they will be hired to make more). Others want to help out with not-for-profit projects that are good for everyone. These people release some of their work under free licenses. These licenses let you copy them or use them to make new derivative works, if you do these things:

  1. You must give the author credit.
  2. If you publish the new piece of work, you must let others use it under the same free license.
  3. You cannot sell the piece of work or use it to make money.
  4. You cannot use or download the aritsits work with perimission from the artist or any upholding associations

Wikipedia pages are available under the GNU Free Documentation License, which lets you use them under the first two of these conditions.

This short article can be made longer. You can help Wikipedia by adding to it.