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What is copyright infringement?

The mass transmission of digital data across the internet, including movies, images and literary text make it easier for such material to be copied and distributed. However, a lot of media is under copyright by a person or an entity such as a business. If copyrighted material is distributed unlawfully, a Minnesota copyright holder will possess grounds for a lawsuit.

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright infringement takes place when a copyright holder’s rights have been violated. A copyright holder has the exclusive right to make copies of the copyrighted work. If someone else is making copies, and that person has not secured permission, copyright infringement is taking place. However, infringement is not limited to merely making copies of a work. A person can create derivative works, such as a sequel to a copyrighted book, which can also count as infringing on another’s rights if those works are not authorized by the original author.

Copyright violators also do not have to merely make copies or derivatives of a protected work. They can violate copyright law by selling such material to the public. However, while some people may believe copyright infringement is limited to just selling copies, the fact is that people may infringe on your rights by making it available in other ways, such as through rentals, leases or lending.

Writing a work of literary fiction also entitles you to exclusive rights to have it performed as you wish unless you sign such rights away. Copyright law covers everything from literary, dramatic, musical or choreographic works, as well as movies, television, radio, or anything audio and visual. Should anyone take your movie script, book or play and reproduce it in a live setting without your permission, your rights have been infringed upon.

This article is written to educate readers on copyright law and is not to be taken as legal advice.

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