To simplify this question, copyright infringement occurs when you do certain things with a creative work which someone else produced without first getting the proper permission.
Some examples of copyright infringement (this is only a partial listing) can include:
- Placing a photograph or creative work online without proper permission.
- Using a creative work commercially.
- Adapting a creative work of one medium to another, such as making a book into a movie or a photograph into a painting.
- Modifying or editing a creative work without proper permission.
How Can I Avoid Infringing on Someone's Copyright?
The best way to avoid infringing on the rights of another creative person is to use your skill, talent and imagination to create your own completely original work. When we use the word 'original' we don't mean that you must come up with an idea which hasn't been used before, when used in copyright matters "original" means that you created your work without referencing or deliberately copying anyone else's work during the process.
Ensure that all parts of your work, both visual and audio, are your own original creations. If you have used materials which are owned by other people or companies make certain that you have obtained proper permission or licensing for the use before you place your work online.
What Sort of Things are Copyrighted? The easy answer to this question is that just about any creative work you might find should be considered to be copyrighted by default.
A work is not required to have a copyright statement printed on it or near it in order to be considered copyrighted so do not assume that the work is unprotected simply because you cannot see a notice written anywhere.
Also do not confuse the fact that a work is publicly available with the idea that it is public domain or free for use. Being easy to find on the internet does not affect a work's copyrighted status.
- In most cases it does not matter how much of the material you have used. Whether it's a single frame, a few moments of audio, a short clip of video or any other sampling it's still considered to be copyrighted and you still require the owner's permission for use.
- It doesn't matter how you obtained the material, it's still considered copyrighted and you still need permission.
- It doesn't matter whether or not you've credited the proper owner, it's still considered copyrighted and you still need permission.
- It doesn't matter if you are not selling it or making a profit, it's still considered copyrighted and you still need permission.
- It doesn't matter if you can find other people using things without permission, it's still considered copyrighted and you still need permission.
- It doesn't matter if you've edited it a little bit or made a few alterations, if it's recognizable it's still considered copyrighted and you still need permission.
What about "Fair Use"
"Fair Use" is the notion that some public and private uses of copyrighted works should not require the permission of a copyright owner. These circumstances are very limited, complex to analyze under the law and require the help of expert advice from a lawyer. We recommend you talk to your own lawyer if you want to know more about fair use as it applies to the work you are doing. If it turns out that it isn't fair use, you may be liable for very serious money damages.
To learn more about fair use you can go here.
- Notes from DeviantART, but it will still apply for any work posted here.
If you take my work down am I protected from a lawsuit?
No. Even if deviantART takes an infringing work down, if you put it up on deviantART you may still be responsible for very significant damages if the copyright owner decides to sue you.
Notification of Copyright Infringement
This section contains the formal requirements of the Copyright Act with respect to the rights of copyright owners whose content appears on deviantART without authorization.
To file a copyright infringement notification with deviantART, the copyright owner or an agent acting on his or her behalf will need to send a written communication that includes substantially the following:
- A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
- Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.
- Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material. In this regard please provide URLs when you identify the location of the material.
- Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.
- A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
- A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
From DeviantART's Copyright Policy
U.S. COPYRIGHT OFFICE - LAW AND POLICY
* If I suspect infringement, I will contact you first, usually asking for you to delete the image or (if it's not a major situation) credit me.