We at the Law Offices of Levi Williams, P.A., have discussed copyright law numerous times in this blog. However, you and other Florida business owners may wonder how fair use applies to copyrighted work. It is important to understand this complex and often confusing aspect of business law, since you might become involved in a business dispute even for unwittingly violating someone else’s copyright.
As you may be aware, copyrighted work is generally protected from people publishing or using it without the owner’s permission. An artist, author, photographer or other copyright owner could sue you for publishing or printing his or her work without seeking permission. However, according to FindLaw, there are some instances that allow you and others to use parts of copyrighted work without getting permission. Fair use law allows the use or reprinting of portions of copyrighted work for the purposes of news reporting, comment, criticism, research, education and parody. For example, a professor might print copies of a study for use in the classroom.
On the other hand, it would not be wise for an author to print the lyrics of a song in his or her novel without getting permission from the artist or label that owns the rights to the song. Disputes involving fair use claims and copyrighted work are usually considered on a case-by-case basis, since it can be difficult to recognize what falls under fair use and what is protected under copyright. Our page explains more about your rights as a business owner, including disputes involving copyrights and trademark infringement.