Obtaining Copyrights

I see that a lot of people, not just teams, but websites in general, say that the website is copyrighted but all they did was put the words copyright blah blah blah at the bottom of each page. As I understand, in order to have your website legally copyrighted, you have to send in copies of all of your source code and copies of every page. Does anyone know of anything else that you have to do? Also, is there an exact format for the copyright?

Our website, not up yet, is made in php and each page loads into a template. Therefore, it ends up that the same page is loaded in every time, just with a different file included into one part of the page. Does each files count as a seperate page or does the template count as THE page? What about pages and files generated by php files? For example, a page listing all of the photo galleries where all it does is read in a list from a file and display it on the screen, in the template. Does that count as a page, even though it doesn’t have any source code of its own?

If anyone knows some information about copyrights, please let me know. Thanks.

I’ve looked into copyrights before, but for websites… it’s just really not worth spending the money to do it. Pretty much everything has done before in HTML, Javascript, CSS, etc. (the languages that can be stolen through source code)… so I mean… you can’t really proove someone stole your code if they actually did, because they can just take snippets and such. I mean, most website designers will look at websites for ideas and at most look at the code to see how certain things were done, then use that. It just isn’t worth the money to copyright, in my opinion… especially not if you’re just doing a team website, a big company maybe… but just a small website doesn’t seem worth it, cause it’s not going to make any effect really.

Send in copies … to whom? In the US, if you made the work after 1977 (I think that’s the magic number), the work is automatically copyrighted by you, – just put the message on it. To make it “more official,” read easier to uphold in court, you can register the copyright … but that is probably unnecessary for you. And there are about a million formats for copyright! – you can say something as simple as, “Copyright by me, 2004”, to providing a link to the GFDL and using that license, or the Creative Commons, etc. (open content licenses both). For specifics and references to the law, if you prefer, you should search google for the US Copyright Act (make sure you get the latest revision), or some such sort.

I heard elsewhere that the mailing thing doesn’t work.

I heard elsewhere that the mailing thing doesn’t work.

Well actually he is thinking of patents and from what I have read it doesn’t work.

Alright guys… i thought i knew this already but I researched it to double check… i went to the US copyright office website and found this … (i abbreviated it for ya)

When is my work protected?
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created.

Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?
Registration is recommended for a number of reasons… they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record

So basically guys the copyright priveledge can be used for ANYTHING you create that is tangible. If you wish to be able to sue others for infringement of your work, though… you have to register. BTW… the “poor man’s copyright” where you send the letter to yourself…doesn’t stand up in court… so says the website … lol :yikes:

if you wanna find out more 411 … visit US Copyright Office

Thanks. I now have a better idea. I am still confused though, is a website tangible or do I have to print out everything?

Thank you about the clarification about “the poor man’s copyright.” I had heard it a long time ago but its nice to know that it doesn’t stand up in court before you try it. Sorry about the misinformation.

A website is tangible, since it can be read with the aid of a machine (computer)

i didnt know about actually getting paper work and stuff! On my site, that doesnt have to do with robotics, i put the copyrights and everything to make it look better… well let them come and track me down.

I’m curious… why do you want to copyright your website?

One reason that comes to mind is to protect ourselves against misrepresentation of our team or FIRST. We can’t really prevent someone from claiming to be a member of SPAM and “misbehaving” in some manner that would reflect poorly on us, but if they were to use some image or logo taken from the website to give them credibility we would have some other legal options to stop them. It hasn’t happened and I don’t expect it to, just thinking out loud.

Another reason why someone might want to copyright their website is because they have original ideas or material that they don’t want others to steal or use and try to claim owndership. Even though this isn’t in the spirit of FIRST, outsiders could always come in and take things like fundraising ideas, “business” setups, transmission designs, etc., and claim them for their own and use them for profitability. And we all know, if anyone needs the profit… its us… lol

Another reason why someone might want to copyright their website is because they have original ideas or material that they don’t want others to steal or use and try to claim owndership. Even though this isn’t in the spirit of FIRST, outsiders could always come in and take things like fundraising ideas, “business” setups, transmission designs, etc., and claim them for their own and use them for profitability. And we all know, if anyone needs the profit… its us… lol

Ummmm transmission designs need to have a patent not a copyright.

One reason that comes to mind is to protect ourselves against misrepresentation of our team or FIRST. We can’t really prevent someone from claiming to be a member of SPAM and “misbehaving” in some manner that would reflect poorly on us, but if they were to use some image or logo taken from the website to give them credibility we would have some other legal options to stop them. It hasn’t happened and I don’t expect it to, just thinking out loud.

It’s happened before. I know of one guy who has used other people’s pictures of Battlebots to make a profit.

Well, based on what has been said, you could obtain a Creative Commons Deed, which is legally binding (in conjunction with copyright laws). You can for example, choose to allow people to use markup source code freely (you can’t prevent this anyway, if you are petty enough to care), but only republish authored works as long as they inform you. You can also restrict the use of any other material on the site to non-commercial reuse or reproduction. State exactly what you would like (there are checkboxes to choose the details of the deed) and it will give you one appropriate to your needs. It’s a legalese-generating extravaganza!

Now even before applying a license like this, some of your site’s rights are automatically reserved. News publishing or posting images for example, are not necessarily automatically public domain. Technically, there is no reverse-onus (that is onus on you, the publisher, to get some kind of license) with regard to restriction of such materials’ reproduction. The problem with this assertion is its legal enforceability is questionable, because its a very grey area, and because there’s really no precedent for, say, a blogger coming out and saying, “you bit my stuff, pay me!”

Which is why Creative Commons exists. Hope that helps.

We aren’t concerned with other teams using information from our site. That is what we are here for. If I see a quote on another team’s site that I wrote and posted on ours, I won’t mind. However, if our official S.P.A.M. logo, for example, was found on the SPAM website (as in spam the meat) I would be mad and would kindly ask them to remove it. Actually, I would probably discuss it with my team first, but the copyright might protect us.

I also think that copyrights help to clarify who owns the information and the site. Our old site was not just copyrighted by our team (similar to chiefdelphi’s copyright naming delphi) and so we had a possibility of conflict over who owned what. Therefore, I would like to use a copyright to clarify who actually owns the website and its contents and to show that we claim responsibility for its content, unless some page or item is labelled otherwise.

Heh, you do not want to get into a copyright war with Hormel. :smiley:

Its your intellectual property… you own it. I would check with eff.org or the creative commons (as posted above)

I think we decided how to handle it, thanks for all the great information. I read that page on SPAM and went through our whole website, not up yet, changing SPAM to S.P.A.M. I heard that our team asked them to sponsor us, but they graciously declined. We are not affiliated with them and our name is an acronym for “South Fork High School” “Pratt & Whitney” “and” “Martin County High School”. After reading that article, though, I am much more careful about how we display our team’s name.

There is now another SPAM team and I wonder how they handle all of this. I might talk to someone from that team. Thanks again.

Actually, I learned about the copyright laws from a songwriter who’d been burned when a band stole one of his songs, then told him, “So sue us!” He said that the most effective tactic is to publicize, advertise, and promote your work as yours. Hey, if “everybody” knows it’s yours, anyone trying to steal it will look like a fool. Imagine some little-known person born in 1985 claiming he or she wrote “Yellow Submarine!”

One misuse of a website is fraud. I’ve been getting e-mails from someone mimicking Earthlink, my ISP, in which I’m sent threatening messages saying that if I don’t send in my credit card info, I’ll lose my Earthlink service. The messages use Earthlink colors, and appear to use genuine Earthlink web links. If Earthlink ever finds out who’s doing it, assuming the culprit is in the U.S., the case will go far beyond copyright infringement. No doubt a LOOONG federal prison sentence will be imposed.

In another case I know of, the enemies of a controversial organization put up a website using a domain name similar to the organization’s, then loaded it with verbal attacks against the organization. The only difference between the domain names was that one used hyphens between the words, and the other didn’t. Anyone using a search engine to find the organization would have turned up both domain names, and wouldn’t have known which one was genuine. The organization sued their attackers, and won.