Computer Science Association, BITS Pilani

October 26, 2009

Copyright issues College Associations Need to Worry About

Copyrights secure the owner of a creative effort the exclusive right to control who can make copies, or make works derived from the original work. It is a legal protection given to authors, artists, and composers to prevent reproduction, sale, or adaptation of their work without their consent. The copyright owner has exclusive rights for printing, reprinting, copying, selling, and adapting the copyrighted material. Rights included in copyright may be inherited or transferred much as other property. They may also be protected against infringement in the courts.

Works not protected by copyright are in the public domain and may be copied and used freely by anyone. Copyright protection extends throughout the author’s or artist’s lifetime and 50 years beyond; upon expiration of the copyright, the work falls into the public domain.

Here are a few simple ways in which college (or university) associations (or societies) can avoid all the trouble and get work done without worrying about copyrights:

  • Be Creative. Or at least Innovative: Before dictionaries start claiming copyright infringement let us define the words as follows.

Creativity is doing something never done before and innovation is building something never seen before.

If you are creative you are not only innovative but also original. If you are building on something (derivative works) that is already present and exhibit it as something never seen before you are just copying original ideas. But, it is sufficient if you are able to innovate in this manner because it would be a lot difficult to see if really you have violated copyrights.

  • Publicize when required:

Now, when college associations conduct events we often need to exercise a lot of care as to the material we use or produce. For example, a case study event should not borrow cases from a book/website directly. Even if we do (for educational purposes, say) we should not put it up as our own work i.e., the matter should not move beyond the gates of the campus.

If you are not sure about the material in hand, then make sure you know the places where it is being put up: blogs?Website? Social Media (highly dangerous)

  • Create awareness:

People would not really violate the copyrights if they understood the consequences of it. So tell them about

  1. Copyrights
  2. Copyright Infringement
  3. Protecting Copyrights

You could do so from:

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