Chapter 13. Copyrights

Click on a section title to jump down the web-page:

A.         What is copyright?

B.         What is the copyright status of a product?

C.         Who is the copyright holder of a product?

D.         What items need permission from the copyright holder?

E.          What is the best way to document copyright permission?

F.          Who keeps track of the copyright permissions on your website?

G.         What kind of acknowledgments are needed?


A. What is copyright?

1. It is both very complicated and quite simple. Here it is in two short sentences.

a) Every product that exists has a copyright holder (a named individual or organization that has a legal right to control the way in which a product is used).

b) To put a product on a website, we need permission from that copyright holder.

2. International law says that copyright is in force as soon as something is written. The creator or author doesn’t need to do anything.  

3. In the case of a product created by an employee or contract worker, the organization or individual that makes payment for the service normally holds copyright to the product. 

4. When a product is created by a volunteer worker, the organization that manages and supervises the work normally holds copyright.

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B. What is the copyright status of a product?

1. There are several ways for the copyright holder of a product to inform others of their claim on a product. The standard copyright statement provides the name of the copyright holder and the date of first publication of the product together with the internationally recognized copyright symbol: ©

Example: © Kalaam Media, 2019

A product with this copyright statement indicates that Kalaam Media is the copyright holder and that this product was first published in 2019. This statement asserts ownership and control of rights. It does not provide any permission for sharing/distributing/using the product.

2. “Creative Commons” is a simple, clear way for the copyright holder to make hisstatus identity known, while at the same time giving permission for the product to be used in certain ways.

a) This provides an easy path for distribution. It facilitates re-distribution by making the user aware of what can be done with the product without requesting permission from the copyright holder.

b) Much more information is available here:

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

c) We suggest that the product owner use the creative commons license called “Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs”

d) The Attribution element of the license says that the person using the product, such as a Website Manager, must tell who owns the product – that is, attribute or give credit to the owner by listing the name of copyright holder.

e) The NonCommerical element says that the Website Manager may not charge the website visitor for the product, and website visitors who redistribute/share the product with others must not charge for it.

f) The NoDerivs element says that the Website Manager is not allowed to change the product – that is, he is not allowed to make derived products for publication.

g) The Creative Commons (CC) License gives all visitors who access the product on the website permission to share the product with others. The permission is defined by the type of CC License assigned to the product.

(1) For example, a product on a website has the following copyright statement, license, and license statement:

© Organization X, 2019 (CC: BY – NC – ND)

All users may distribute/share this content in any format or medium non-commercially, providing they have not altered it any way. All distributed/shared copied must carry this copyright statement, license, and license statement.

(2) The copyright statement names the copyright holder and states the date when the product was first published.

(3) The Creative Commons license code indicates that the product is licensed in accord with an internationally recognized convention.

(4) The license statement provides all users of the product with a clear understanding of the terms of the license without requiring them to have any knowledge of the Creative Commons licensing convention.

3. A “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) is  one way for a copyright holder to  grant permission for its products  to be published on a website.

4. A “permission” document, which may be called a Publishing Agreement or Copyright Agreement, is like a MOU and will work as well.

5. There are other more complicated ways for the copyright holder to inform others of their claim on a product.

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C. Who is the copyright holder of a product?

1. A copyright holder is not the same as a publisher.

a) It is possible for a copyright holder to be the publisher, but the two are not equal. Usually, the copyright holder is the creator of the product.  

b) In many cases, the employer of the creator is the copyright holder.

2. The publisher is the person who makes the product available to the public. It does not matter if that is via print, on a DVD, through a website, or any other means.

a) The copyright holder may sell or donate certain rights to a publisher, which results in the publisher becoming the copyright holder of the published content.  A MOU, copyright agreement, or publishing agreement is required to clearly define the rights granted by the copyright holder to the publisher. 

b) It is quite normal for the copyright holder to retain rights to use and publish the content in other ways, which means that the publisher obtains rights only to its own published expression of the content.

c) Alternatively, a copyright holder may wish to give up all claims to the content and transfer full and exclusive rights to the publisher.  

d) It is vitally important for the publisher to have a clear understanding of the rights granted and rights retained by the publisher. The purpose of the MOU or other form of agreement between the copyright holder and the publisher is to clarify these matters and specify any other conditions associated with the publication.

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D. What items need permission from the copyright holder?

1. Every item needs permission -- everything.

Images, songs, text, videos, books, booklets, translations -- everything.

2. This is hard in some situations:

a) The person who created the item is unavailable.

b) The person who created the item does not want his name mentioned.

c) The person who created the item is unknown.

d) The person who created the item has died.

3. We understand that problems arise, and we can give you advice.

a) You must do what you can to find the copyright holder.

b) If you cannot find the copyright holder, you need to communicate this.

c) If the copyright holder comes forward, we will un-publish the page until arrangements can be made.

4. In some cases, the copyright holder won’t give his permission to use his products on your website. Then you may not use the products.

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E. What is the best way to document copyright permission?

1. Permission forms, MOUs, agreements, and contracts are all binding.

2. We suggest that you use permission forms for individuals where you need copyright holder approval on just a few items.

a) We have a sample permission form you could use.

3. For a MOU, you work from a standard document and adjust it for your specific situation. Since a MOU starts “pre-made”, it is easier to create than a contract.

4. We suggest that you use a MOU for smaller organizations. These may need approval from the CEO of that organization.

5. We suggest that you use a contract (which may take the form of a Copyright Agreement or Publishing Agreement) for a large organization which may have many products. This may require legal advice and CEO-level approval.

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F. Who keeps track of the copyright permissions on your website?

1. The Website Manager is responsible for copyright approvals for everything on the website.

2. Kalaam Media is very concerned about copyright permission on many products. It includes these items:

a) Scripture

b) Scripture-based material

c) Dictionary

d) Linguistic reports or documents

e) Media originating in the United States or other “western” countries

f) Materials that have been previously published

3. Kalaam Media will assist in obtaining permission from the copyright holder for these items.

4. The Website Manager keeps track of copyright permission on other products. These are produced in the country or language community. It includes these items:

a) Pictures from the community

b) Video that is produced locally

c) Music that is produced locally

d) Other items which are created in your community

5. Kalaam Media will advise in obtaining permission from the copyright holder for these items.

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G. What kind of acknowledgments are needed?

1. It is normal for the copyright holder for each item of content to be identified. You can accomplish this in several ways.

a) It could be a statement at the bottom of the website page where the item appears.

b) It could be a statement in the video or text itself.

c) It could be a statement on the Contact and Copyright page of the website.

2. Ideally, the copyright statement, license, and license statement would appear on each item of website content that can be individually downloaded by a visitor.

a) If the visitor redistributes or shares any item, the next user has the necessary license information and permission for use.

b) If a downloaded item carries no information concerning copyright and permission for use, it becomes open to being misused.  

3. In some cases, the copyright holder does not want his name on the website. You can use something like this:

All materials used with permission of the copyright holder.

a) You still need a permission document from that person, but the information will remain private.

b) It is still possible and important to apply a CC License and license statement to content of this kind.

4. In some cases, you just cannot find the copyright holder. You can put a statement to that effect on the Contact and Copyright page. You can use something like this:

We tried to locate the copyright holder for this product but were not successful. If you have additional information, please let us know.

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