Copyright protection covers a wide range of ownership rights. Today, the infringement of those rights can easily extend to illegal internet activities.
The spotlight is on filesharing sources such as BitTorrent. However, Congress has passed legislation to address the link between copyright protection and the internet.
A copyright is a form of legal protection covering the use and distribution of an original work, which is typically artistic, creative or intellectual in nature. There are various rights:
- To reproduce, duplicate, copy or transcribe a work in any fixed form
- To modify a work to create a new one
- To sell, rent, lease or otherwise distribute the work to the public
- To hang a copy of the work in a public place, put it on film, display it on a website or show it to the public in any other way
- To exercise the public performance right through a play, dance, act or recitation
Section 512 of the Copyright Act
In the late 1990s, Congress passed Section 512 of the Copyright Act, which addresses internet uncertainties. First, the Act allows copyright owners to have online copyright infringement content removed without having to go through litigation. Second, it assists internet industry development by providing legal recourse for problems affecting online service providers.
The exchange of software on the internet has increased substantially. Lately, producers of adult videos and independent movies have accused individuals of downloading their films illegally. The downloading allegedly occurs through the use of filesharing services such as BitTorrent rather than through the use of legal sources like Amazon or iTunes. Film and other original works enjoy protection under copyright law, and when copyright infringement arises, lawsuits often follow.