Important Things to Know About Copyright Infringement

What website owners should know.

A copyright is a type of legal protection that’s given to a creator of a work, which gives them legal ownership of the work. The creator gets the rights to use and distribute the work for a period of time.

In order to avoid infringement, it’s crucial you understand the laws of copyright. Copyright law grants exclusive rights to an owner for their work, and it applies to all their works, regardless of publishing status. Whether a work is published or unpublished, the copyright law applies.

Unless a work is specifically stated to be in the public domain, you should always assume that it’s protected by copyright law. If you wish to reuse the work, you are going to need permission from the owner of the work. Without permission from the owner, you will infringe on the copyright, unless the use qualifies for fair use. Some exceptions for fair use include using a photo for educational use, or for non-commercial purposes.

Copyright laws are designed to protect the creator of original works from others using and profiting from their work without giving permission to them.

Works are Eligible for a Copyright

The government of the United States handles all forms of copyright protection, and new works are eligible for copyright in the rapidly changing era of the internet. These works must have some minimal degree of creativity in order to meet the qualifications for a copyright. The following pieces of work are eligible for copyright:

  • Advertisements
  • Architecture
  • Drawings
  • Paintings
  • Pictures
  • Films
  • TV Shows
  • Podcasts
  • Choreography
  • Stories
  • Poems
  • Blogs
  • Plays
  • Reference Materials
  • Computer Software
  • Computer Hardware
  • Newspaper Articles

Protections a Copyright Provides

  • The ability to sell copies of your work. If you have a copyright, you can profit from your work by selling it.
  • The ability to perform your work in public. If you’ve written a song, a play, or something else you can show to the public, copyright allows for you to perform in public.
  • The ability to reproduce your work. You can produce as many copies of your work, as well as distribute it.
  • The ability to create other works based on your one original work.
  • The ability to display your work in public.

With a copyright, you, as the owner of the work, have the ownership and control over the work as you do your home, car, phone, clothes, etc. No one else can use those things without your permission.

Life of a Copyright

Anything created after January 1, 1978 has a lifetime of the creator, plus 70 years.

Use Caution

If you did not create a work, it is not yours to use freely, even if there is no copyright symbol shown, ©. Look for a license or permissions before using a work that is not yours.

Many creators of works allow for others to share their work. The rules for re-use of their work is usually in the form of a license. For example, you can find some photos on Google and use them on the walls in your home or you can set them as the background on your phone. However, if you were to post those photos online, on your website, or on your social media profiles, you may be committing copyright infringement.


Hutcherson Law, based in Dallas, Texas, is here to help hardworking professionals, honest businesses, and innocent individuals who have been a victim of copyright infringement. Contact Hutcherson Law today for a reputable online attorney in Dallas to get ahead of copyright infringement.