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Copyrights and Copyrighted Materials

     All the images on our site, and the images of all original artwork represented on our site, are Copyrighted.

Please do not copy or reproduce any of these images without our express written permission. To do so would be a violation of Copyright Law.

    Of course there are laws (L-A-W-S) regarding Copyrights and Copyrighted materials. Here's the deal:

    The Copyright Act of 1976 and its predecessors (including the Copyright Acts of 1790 and 1909) provides statutory protection to copyright owners for original works of authorship (art included).

Terms of Copyright Protection

Works Created after January 1,1978

    The Copyright Act of 1976 provides the same terms of protection for published and unpublished works created after January 1, 1978. The term of copyright protection is currently as follows:
i. Individual author-Life of author plus 50 years
ii. Joint authors-50 years after the death of the last surviving author
iii. Works for hire-75 years from publication or 100 years from the date of creation (whoa...there's a long time)
iv. Anonymous works-75 years from publication or 100 years from the date of creation

    In other words... nothing created under the terms of the 1976 Act will be "copyright free" (defined as "public domain") until after the year 2028. "Public domain" is discussed a bit later.

Works Created Before 1 January, 1978

    Works created before this date are the most likely (but not guaranteed) to be in the "public domain". OK, OK... let's talk about this "public domain". What is it ? Simply put.. "Public Domain" means it doesn't belong to anyone, which follows that it must therefore belong to everyone. It means that anyone can use these works without permission or payment of any kind.

    A published work enters the public domain when its term of statutory protection has expired. Doing the math, just about everything created before 1 January 1925 is now in the public domain. Other works may also be in the public domain if the author/ copyright owner has abandoned their rights to copyright the work and has expressly provided the work to the public domain. If you look around on the Internet you will find examples of this today. Works created before January 1, 1978, whether published or unpublished, had a initial 28 year term of copyright that required the owner to renew the copyright after the expiration of the 28 year period.

    Interestingly, the Copyright Act of 1909 required that the copyright owner insert a copyright notice on the created work. Without such a notice the work immediately became public domain and the owner could no longer claim copyright status. So... if a work (literature or artwork) does not have a copyright notice imprinted on it... is it public domain ? Nope. Wish it were that simple, don't you ? Amendments to the Copyright Act of 1976 now no longer require that originally created works have a copyright notice stamped on them somewhere. Anything created after 1 March, 1989 is, by default, copyrighted material.... period.. unless....UNLESS.... they are specifically stated to be "Public Domain" (you knew we'd get back to close that loop, huh ?).

    So.... what's all this got to do with the price of peanut butter ? What's it mean to us here and now ?

    Well... it means that anything YOU create (like a poem or a photograph) is, by default, copyrighted material.

However, it also means that we can't copy or reproduce anything that you don't own the copyright on, or something for which you cannot obtain and provide a formal, written copyright release for our review and records. This protects the copyright owner (maybe you), and it protects us.

    All of the works presented on our site are either photos and artistically derived works obtained from the Public Domain, works for which we have obtained a formal copyright release to use, or works that we have created and for which we own the copyrights on. (Which means you can't rip us off, either...). Works which we have artistically rendered from pieces which were originally public domain become "derivative works", which then fall under rule number three, which means we now own the copyright on them as they were essentially re-created by our hand.

    This is all just a crash course on copyrights (Copyrights 101) and copyrighted material and, as you can imagine, there are volumes of books written on this subject. It's a big, ugly world out there full of lawyers and other intelligent, well educated people hoping to stick it to someone... so we all best be careful.

Let's summarize:

(1) It is safest to assume that everything created after 1 March 1989, whether marked copyrighted or not, IS copyrighted material.

UNLESS: You KNOW FOR AN ABSOLUTE AND UNSHAKABLE FACT that the work is in the PUBLIC DOMAIN and you can prove it if necessary, OR if you have written release from the copyright owner to use it.

    We aren't trying to be "meanies" when we ask for copyright information. Doing so is like the bank teller asking you for your driver's license picture when you want some money out of your own account. It's just for your own darned good. You should be glad we are asking... it means we aren't out to rip you off for something you own the copyright on.

    And, no.... we aren't lawyers and we aren't experts on copyright laws. If you need to know more about copyrights and how they work, call a lawyer. And when you become the copyright expert, fill us in on the latest.

    And that's about that... as they say. And, if you read this far...way to go, glad you stayed awake ! And come back often !
 

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Updated Tuesday 30 June, 2009 8:36PM Mountain Time