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Copyright Infringement

A copyright infringement is a violation of an individual or organization's copyright. It describes the unauthorized use of copyrighted material, such as text, photos, videos, music, software, and other original content. In the computer industry, copyright violations often refer to software programs and websites.

Software is usually distributed under a certain type of license agreement, or SLA. This license defines the terms of use, including whether or not the software can be distributed to other users. For example, (open source|open source) programs are free to use and may often be redistributed without limitations. Commercial software, however, must be purchased and cannot be redistributed. Using commercial software without paying for it is a copyright infringement and as commonly known as piracy.

Websites that contain original content are automatically protected under international copyright law. In other words, you cannot copy the content of one website and publish it on another site without the author's permission. Reposting text, images, videos, audio clips, or any other content found on the Web without permission constitutes a copyright infringement. Legal penalties for violating website copyrights depend on the extent and damages caused by the copyright violation.

Since we live in a digital age, copying content is often as simple as a copy and paste operation. This makes it possible for one person to copy and republish content in a few minutes that may have taken another person several years to create. Therefore, In 1998, the United States Congress took steps to defend intellectual property by passing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, commonly known as DMCA. This law defines specific types of digital copyright infringements and establishes serious penalties for violators.

NOTE: If you ever want to use or republish content from the Web, you should always ask the author for permission and include an appropriate reference and link to the original content.

Tech Factor:
Updated: November 13, 2012
Category: Technical Terms