Posted on January 29, 2013 ยท Posted in General

Creativity is booming on the Internet today. Exciting contributions from people that illustrate, write, and do a host of other things to make Internet life informative and entertaining. Let?s say you decide you should use some of these contributions without permission. Whether this is an image, written words, music, or a drawing, consider the law before you do. Potential legal consequences should be considered before you take the hard work and intellectual property of others.


When you take from the creativity of another individual, it is plagiarism. It typically refers to using the work of another without explicit permission from them or their legal representation, or accurate citations. This includes all the works as described below. Although the term is related to the works of creativity, it is theft nonetheless.

There are certain situations where you can use the work without penalty, such as classroom projects. However, this is even considered plagiarism if complete credit is not given to the original creator of the work.

Intellectual Property

There is a difference between Intellectual Property and Copyright. Intellectual property includes:
– Works of invention
– Industrial designs
– Trademarks
– Geographic indications of source.


Copyright defines the literary and artistic works. These include:
– Musical works
– Film
– Theatre and/or plays
– Novels
– Poems
– Drawings and/or illustrations,
– Paintings
– Photographs
– Sculptures
– Architectural designs

Other elements of copyright include the artist performances, producers of recordings, broadcasters in TV and radio, as well as television programming. Any questions as to whether a category is included can be found on the World Intellectual Property Organization site, Specific information regarding a particular country can be found there as well. If you are restricting your search to the United States, the site is the US Copyright Office at

Intellectual Property and Copyright Law

The copyright law for the United States is contained in the United States Code section of the site under Title 17. There are thirteen chapters as well as any amendments made since 1976. It is important to note that there is limited space here to include every particular issue regarding copyright law. It is necessary to review all the legal information contained in the copyright law section if you have been violated; or, if you are concerned that you crossed the boundaries and used the work of someone else.

Violating any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner of a certain work are grounds for legal action. The copyright owner begins the legal process by serving the perpetrator. The copyright law is explicit when referring to anyone violating the law. This includes any state government or government official as well as private citizens and corporations.

Possible Penalties

Remedies for infringement may include impounding the work and damages applied for the infringement. Also, the cost of the civil action as well as attorney’s fees may be assessed. Willful infringement is considered criminal infringement. This means the intent includes commercial advantage or private financial gain. However, it should be noted that reproduction is some evidence but does not prove willful intent.

There is an element of legal consequences that should be understood. The court process will take time and in that time proof must be gathered to show criminal infringement. There is a slight difference if the infringement is unintentional but must be proven as well. However, that does not mean that the perpetrator escapes legal consequences even if the infringement is unintentional.

There is a statute of limitations on these actions. The criminal actions have five years from infraction to commence. The civil actions have three years from infraction to commence. Any and all information regarding copyright and intellectual property law can be found at the sites mentioned.

Author Bio: Alex Wright is a writer who produces law related articles. In this article, he offers advice to avoid the penalties of copyright and plagiarism and wishes to encourage further study in Trial Advocacy.