Copyright Basics: Crash Course Intellectual Property 2

Hi. I’m Stan Muller, this is Crash Course
Intellectual Property, and today we’re going to be talking about copyright law. As you
might have guessed, the law of copyright relates to the right to copy, the copy right as it relates
to copies of copyrightable works. You copy? [Theme Music] Right. So, the right to copy or reproduce
copyright protected works is only one of the exclusive rights granted by the law of copyright.
We’re also gonna discuss what types of things can actually be copyrighted, what we call
the subject matter. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the history of copyright
law in the United States. Why the United States? Not because the US is exceptional and not
because I’m a cultural imperialist trying to erode the identity and fabric of foreign
nations. Mostly it’s just because we’re making this video in the United States and copyright
law is territorial. So, in 1709, England passed the Statute of
Anne, which is widely considered to be the first copyright law. The Statute of Anne was
the first law to grant ownership rights to individual authors rather than to publishers
or printers. Throughout the 18th century, several of the American colonies adopted copyright
and copyright-like laws based on the Statute of Anne. The drafters of the US Constitution
inserted what is commonly called the intellectual property clause in Article 1, Section 8, Clause
8 and reads, “The Congress shall have the power to promote the progress of science and
useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive rights
to their respective writings.” So listed right up there with Congress’s power
to lay and collect taxes and to declare war and gather armies is the power to promote
the progress of learning and knowledge through the grant of a limited monopoly to authors
and inventors in the form of copyrights and patents. It is, without question, the coolest
of the Congressional powers. Stan, does that seem biased? Oh, I’m Stan, oh, uh, Mark, does
that seem biased? No? Good. The law has undergone several major revisions in the past 225 years,
and it’s currently in the process of a major review. So let’s talk about what types of works are
eligible for copyright protection and what rights authors or owners have in those works.
Copyright law protects original works of authorship. Originality in the context of copyright means
only that the work owes its origin to the author. That is, it’s independently created
and isn’t copied from other works. How creative do these original works have
to be though? Not very, at all. For a work to be copyrightable, there only needs to be
a minimal amount of creativity. Adult judges in court have described in in court as a scintilla,
a dab, even a glimmer. So why is the bar for creativity set so low? Well, it’s because
lawmakers and judges probably aren’t the best people to decide what types of creative works
promote the progress of knowledge. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said,
“It would be a dangerous undertaking for persons trained only to the law to constitute themselves
judges of the worth of pictorial illustrations outside of the narrowest and most obvious
limits.” Holmes may have been speaking specifically about pictorial illustrations in this case, but
the principle applies to any type of creative work. Anyway, Holmes clearly feels that judges
don’t necessarily make the best art critics. So what does Holmes mean by “narrow and obvious
limits”? Well, words and short phrases like names (John Green), titles (like The Fault
in Our Stars), slogans (“one sick love story”), fonts, coloring, mere listings of ingredients
or contents, familiar symbols or designs (like an 8-ball), none of this is protectable under
copyright law. Are they protected by any other branch of intellectual property? Ask again
later. One quick note: In order for a work to be
protected by copyright, it need not in and of itself promote the progress of science.
From literary novels to the most graphic pornography, it’s probably protectable. The courts have
concluded that it isn’t a question of whether a work promotes the progress of knowledge
but that all works are granted equal protection. In this way, the law encourages people to
create a diverse array of stuff. At the end of the day, it’s the system that promotes the
progress of science and not the individual works. Copyright law protects original works of authorship.
Works of authorship fall into any of the eight categories that are listed in the copyright
act. Literary works are basically anything that can be embodied by letters or numbers,
including novels, blogs, computer programs, websites, databases, and possibly really creative
tweets. Musical works refers to the actual musical notation of a song by say, T-Swizzy.
Sound recordings are the actual music embodied in the record or the CD or an MP3 that extends
to things like audiobooks. That’s what you actually hear. Dramatic works, which are basically
stage productions like Wicked or Cats or Waiting for Godot. Pantomimes and choreographic works.
Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works. Motion pictures, and even architectural works,
all of these are considered to be writings. Congress has indicated that this list isn’t
exhaustive, and it’s vague on purpose, because humans are coming up with new ways to express
themselves all the time. Believe it or not, this is not the apex of human creativity.
So imagining the Guggenheim or a mime routine as writing can feel like a stretch. In order
for any of these works to be considered bona fide writings in the Constitutional sense,
they must be fixed in any tangible medium of expression, be that a book, an MP3, source
code, choreography, a blueprint, or whatever. The only requirement for a tangible medium
of expression is that we as humans either on our own or by using a computer or some other device be able to perceive it in the form of a copy or record. This brings up a widely misunderstood aspect
of copyright: copyright protection extends to the intangible material, the literary work,
not the physical copy of the work. You may own the copy of the book, but you don’t own
the copyright. Also, copyright extends only to expression and not to ideas. If you come
up with a million dollar idea for the best movie ever made or the greatest novel in history,
until you actually write these masterpieces and fix them in a tangible medium, copyright
law doesn’t protect you. And you can’t copyright facts. Let’s say you
do some research and discover that Matthias Buchinger was born in Germany on June 3, 1674
without hands or legs. He was a famous artist, calligrapher, and magician. He was called
“The Little Man of Nuremberg” and “The Greatest German Living”, and he was married four times,
fathered at least 14 children by eight different women. Even if you spend your entire academic
career uncovering these fascinating facts, facts alone aren’t copyrightable. A biography
of Buchinger would qualify for copyright protection, but only the narrative expression would qualify.
Subsequent biographers could use the facts you uncovered in your research but would be
prohibited from expressing those facts using your words. They’d have to make up their own. “Scènes à faire” or scenes that must be
done are not copyrightable either. These are well-worn storylines like a pair of star-crossed
lovers from feuding families or fables or folklore. This sounds to me like a cliche.
You can’t copyright stuff like the idea of a dastardly villain tying a damsel to a train
track. Finally, works created by the Federal Government
can’t be copyrighted. That’s why we can show you this and this and this, no charge. Thanks,
federal employees! So who can get a copyright? Well, according
to the 1976 Copyright Act, ownership initially goes to the author or authors of the work.
One of the only limits to this rule is that the individual author has to be a human being.
If the work is created by an entity other than a human, like say a monkey or a mindless
automaton or an employee, that creator is not an author. I’m kidding, okay? Employees
are humans, but that does bring us very nicely to the idea of works made for hire. Let’s
go to the Thought Bubble. So, if your boss tells you to create something,
then your boss or the company you both work for, is considered to be the author of that
something. A work made for hire can be a work prepared by an employee within the scope of
his/her employment, or certain works that are specially ordered or commissioned. Many
employment contracts spell out what constitutes work made for hire. If they don’t or if there’s
no clear employee/employer relationship, courts look at things like whether the employee used
the employer’s computer, created the work during normal work hours, or was directed
by a supervisor during the creation process. If it seems that there was an employer/employee
relationship and the employee created the work while acting within the scope of that
employee’s duties, it probably was a work made for hire. So in these cases, the employer
is considered to be the author. The actual people who created the work have no economic
rights in the work, other than the fact that they were compensated for their efforts. This
video is a work for hire. Frank’s script, my performance, Mark’s directions, Zulaiha’s
script supervision, Brandon’s editing, Thought Café’s animations, Jason’s music, these are
all components of this motion picture work and they all belong to the company we work
for. One interesting question here is what rights, if any, you may have if you support
Crash Course via Patreon. Are you as a paying supporter functioning as our employer? Did
you commission this work? Is this a work made for hire, authored by tens of thousands of
supporters? If you participate in a crowdfunding scheme where subscribers vote on or suggest
the direction of the creative work, are you joint authors? Magic-8 Ball? Huh. Better not
tell you now. Thanks, Thought Bubble. So authors have a bundle of exclusive rights
in their copyrighted works. They get these rights at the moment the work is created.
Authors don’t have to register their works to be protected, but there are benefits to
registration. For example, authors can’t go to federal court to enforce their copyrights
unless they’ve registered it. The reproduction right is, put simply, the right to copy. Under
US law, reproduction relates only copying the producer’s copy or photo records, which,
as we just learned, have to be fixed, tangible, and intelligible. In a lot of ways, our modern
digital world is just an intricate network of copying. Think about how this video got
from me to you. I don’t even know where the actual copy of this work resides. We have
a master copy on a hard drive in the closet over there, but the copy you’re viewing has
been uploaded and copied to Google’s servers and then it gets transferred and copied from
server to server across the Internet until it reaches you, where an intricate sequence
of copying takes place in your device’s processor and memory so that you can stream it and view
it. So in this system where damages pile up for every instance of infringement and statutory
damages can be as much as $150,000 every time an infringing copy is made, get out the confetti
cannon, because we are rich! What? Most of these temporary copies aren’t fixed or tangible?
Are you sure? We’re not rich? Let’s get an employee or a mindless automaton in here to
clean up all this confetti. Hey, a Roomba! Roomba is a registered trademark of the iRobot
Corporation. Okay, so, the adaptation right means that
copyright owners have the exclusive right to create or authorize, “any translation,
musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art
reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which the work may be recast,
transformed, or adapted.” Under the distribution right, copyright owners have the right, “to
distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer
of ownership or by rental, lease, or lending.” This seems pretty straightforward until the
Internet happened. In the digital world, what counts as a distribution?
Things like streaming video services, torrent sharing, even the idea of licensing media
for marketplaces like iTunes are fairly new, and the law has struggled to keep pace with
the emerging technology. Really, all we can do is ask our trusty liquid filled dye agitator.
Reply hazy, ask again later. You know, I don’t think this thing is magic at all. These answers
are ambiguous and they seem to be arbitrary and I don’t think you should make your decisions
based on this. But anyway, the public performance right allows
copyright owners, “to recite, render, play, dance, or act any copyright protected work,
either directly or by means of any device or process.” The Supreme Court recently ruled
that Aereo, an online video service, made an illegal public performance when it let
customers view broadcast television over the Internet. Aereo argued that since each of
their customers were assigned an individual antenna, when they would transmit the over-the-air
broadcast to each user, it was a private performance. The court disagreed. Under the public display
right, copyright owners have the exclusive right to display their works. In 1995, a sixth
right, digital audio transmission was created. This is what comes into play whenever you
stream music on Spotify or Pandora. Under the most recent version of the US Copyright
Law, these exclusive rights last for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years. For works made
for hire, terms last for 95 years from publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever
is shorter. So that means this video won’t end up in the public domain until January
1, 2111. That is a long time. A lot of people think that’s too long. Some people think
that’s not long enough. What do you think? Tell us in comments, and we’ll see you next week. Crash Course Intellectual Property is filmed
at the Chad and Stacey Emigholz studio in Indianapolis, Indiana and it’s made by all
of these nice workers for hire. If you’d like to keep Crash Course free for everyone forever,
you can fund the series on Patreon, a crowdfunding platform that allows you to support the content
you love. You can get awesome rewards for your support, but you do not get ownership
of the Crash Course copyright. Sorry. The greatest reward, though, is helping people learn stuff. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next week.


  • 50 years sounds go to me

  • Congrats Stan, just started to watch this series and I'm loving it (wait… do I own McDonald's money now??)
    70 years – way too long…
    Could you comment on the corporation's lobby to extend this over and over again (mickey mouse comes to mind…)

  • Rıfat Erdem Sahin

    can i embed this course to my app with giving a reference ?

  • Having copyright through the life span of the original creator sounds good to me. However, once I die, there will be no need for +70 years of copyright. I'm sure at least 7 years is more than enough time for my future business to get back on track without me…That is, if the world and I don't end Tomorrow. Lol

  • Kudos Thought Cafe for referencing Matt Murdock/Daredevil in their spot.

  • Global 4C Risk Mitigation

    Long enough….

  • 0:40 There's Waldo…

  • Stan: "Stan, does that seem biased? Oh, I'm Stan."

    Stan Stan Stan…

  • If I use a 3D printer to create some sculpture, but I didn't create the file that the printer used, am I infringing the rights of the person who created the file? Does the file creator own the copyright of the sculpture, or is it not copyrighted because it was made by a machine and not by a human, or do I own it, because I received the the right to download the file, although not necessarily with any other rights included?

  • I am a musician, and there is a producer that will present a contract to me to produce my music. I do not know nothing about Law and i am a bit scare to sign anything. I would love to anderstand what i will sign before i sign it. What is of interest is not money as much as the chain that l will have to agree to. I know that it is easy to fool artiste like me. I would need advices from an outside source. I love Crash coiurse. if you could create a video to explain how to sign a contract what to be aware of what are our right etc… It is the chance of my life but i do not want to see my life works stolen. So what should i do to protect myself as best as i can. Thank you gang keep teaching i want to keep learning.

  • I hope that law gets updated and gets re registered copyrights

  • Amit Athi Kesavan

    Who sees the Mongols

  • Ravindra Nagrecha

    Too long!

  • 75 years after author's death is far too long.

  • Copyright law now serves the exact opposite purpose as it was designed to. Company now owns the right of copy not person who created it and the company holds on to it until oblivion.

  • That was a hell of a good video. 😊

  • Nice Daredevil reference

  • What if someone writes an A.I. that can compose musik (doesnt have to be good or complex i guess), does the copyright go automatically to the person writing the code for the a.i.? because I think programms are going to be able to create content (again no matter if good or bad) and how are people going tto handle that if not already…?

  • I have created a website that has a section called Trending News.
    And in that section, I share articles of various news channels, like article name,link and picture that used in that article.Will this confront me with copyright?

  • What is the point of having a copyright at the moment of creating something if you can't go to court to defend it? Am I misunderstanding something? So if I don't register it and someone else copies, reproduce, and sells my work – I can't defend it but I have bragging rights?

  • I think the length of time is appropriate. It covers not only the lifetime of the author, 'seeing they might be adults when submitting the work', but also of a certain amount of their offspring's life, ' imagining they might have had children and would like to take care of them in some form'.

  • Chris & Lee-Anne Minturn

    Oh my, so much information to understand. And yes I am a real person, and yes 120 years shorter than 90 years! and still such a long time, will it even be remotely relevant by then? Thanks for the video, its been very helpful.

  • Speak slower

  • This is such a great video.

  • Rushikesh Amale

    I am creating website for learning programming. Which is best way to write post without copyright? Can I use royalty free books to write post? by copy paste

  • Everything should be free on the Internet.

  • I would argue for lifetime of the author minus a popularity factor.

  • That Crash Course logo at 7:56? Did you guys copyright that or trademark it? My guess is copyright. If that's the case, how does someone copyright their "YouTube" logo? Also, does putting that logo in your videos protect the content when it's uploaded?

  • I think the Death of the Author should be the maximum something something is allowed to stay under copyright. For works for hire I'd guesstimate about 70 years tops.

    Intellectual Copyright laws as they currently exist are horribly Draconian.

  • Awesome work Crash Course

  • It is said that copyright ownership and protection, which are intangible, vest in the author of a creative work as soon as the work exists in a tangible form. What about the video(edited on computer) that is in digital (non-tangible) form – does copyright law protect me?

  • The most absurd laws ever created in the US.

  • 6:55

    Schneebly was from the Jetsons and you recreated his character I'm telling Hanna-Barbara COPYRIGHT! lol but seriously isn't that illegal ???

  • Whether you make profits for your work 90 or 900 years after your death is completely arbitrary. Both are so long it has no relevance for anyone alive simultaneous with the author. Anyone arguing it should be longer, is doing so just to distract from the relevant conversation of whether it should be shorter.

  • Mr ToSaj loterulio

    Great show! thank you very much!

  • Savage_oppress Redcloud

    How can you copyright playing music if you bought the cd and therefore it's yours and you should have the right too do anything with it….just as long your ain't making money off it……

  • Tactical Audio Video

    I have an important question, what if someone were to make a copy of a song say film it on their phone and upload that to YouTube… then I were to play that YouTube video and film that with my phone and upload it to YouTube. Would that be infringing on copyright laws? The issue with making YouTube videos and monetizing them is not clear to me even though I've been doing it for over a year. It seems I can record a radio station playing and upload it to monetize however some other songs from the radio don't allow me to, what's the deal. The same goes with movies I will play a DVD or Blu-ray on my television recorded upload it to YouTube and some will allow me to monetize it others won't. I am really wondering though if you were to Play a YouTube video of a song and record that with your phone and upload it to YouTube would that be copyright infringement?

  • My favorite channel of ALL time 😍😍 very educational!

  • The Best Twins Ever

    Really stupid if in a music video's description is "Free to use as long as you mention me!" Then you're like OK, I'll put this music in my future uploads. You do it, and they say you used copyright of their video but you mention them like said and you have to edit your whole video's audio. 1 Like = 1 relation

  • Can we call you Mr. Meta? Awesome video, great narrator and animations!

  • Can you do a crash course on the Digital Millennium Act or Bankruptcy Code?

  • If copyright laws were changed so that the timeframe is longer would that affect anything published form the date of the law or everything in the past as well?
    Cause if it included copyrighted things from the past wouldn’t it be possible for things that were in the public domain already to be copyrighted again?

  • The Real Prince Club

    The strike against me is illegal, they don't own the song, it's a different recording, it's a different arrangement of a public domain song that i own the licence agreement to use freely as I see fit By the people who actually made the song, five years before these hacks who are trying to put a strike on me.

  • The Real Prince Club

    Your Rumba sucks, wait I meant stinks, that thing didn't suck up anything.

  • Can you get in trouble by writing a "how to" book that uses same technics as others? Even though, THEY also used the same technics as others? What says the law about copywriting tutorials ?

  • "what do you think? tell us in the comments."

    Ask again later.

  • If someone copyrights a certain item style is that item covered in the us or only in Europe?

  • Best way to learn here

  • I do not know you see this comment. I want to know why you talk so fast. Does this make your work useful for non-English languages?

  • is this No copyright infringement intended. Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use Fake?

  • Being a musician, copyright is critical. And these videos are incredibly informative and helpful for musicians of any genre. Highly recommend!

  • That's why I publish under CC-BY-NC.

  • A mindless automaton… Classic! lol

  • Asia Nicole Fletcher

    Wow that was a lot

  • Francine de Salit

    You copy?

  • One of my videos already got copyrighted

  • 2111…yeah…what's the point of public domain anyway?


  • It's too long, and in-fact: I feel like works for hire should only last half as long: since companies can always hire more workers, but there's only one you

  • There are financial agreements which have 99 year terms as part of their agreements as such 100 year protections don't seem to me unreasonable aside from this human life spans in developed nations are near 100 years in some places, so if a person is to make a living off of their work during the course of their lives then maybe these time spans can be considered reasonable

  • What is the painting at 2:11?

  • Patent holders should have the ability to apply for a longer patent instead of it being so long.

  • What about copyleft

  • Which of those eight categories of Copyrightable works does include copyrighting YouTube videos?

  • You skipped the fifth copyright right.

  • I think copyright should last 40 years or until the author's death, whichever comes first.

  • People are coming up with new ways to steal and UNJUSTLY ENRICH THEMSELVES at the EXPENSE of others ‼️Man kind is disappearing ⚠️while the human RACE amps up daily‼️


    10 minutes video – 600 seconds

    Copyrighted Material used – 10 seconds

    Youtuber receives: 590 seconds of monetization

    Music company: 10 seconds of monetization

    This kind of % system could be used almost on any copyright issue.

    Selling physical copyrighted products? up to 50% claims on revenue, allowing the owner of the copyright owner to win on both infringing product and future prices since the infringer would have to increase his price.

    I never ask for this, but please consider liking this comment if you think this would be a good idea. Thanks!

  • can you put rules statement in your copyright . To double insure that no one can copy certain objects of your design?

  • if I write a book and put images in it. How do I copyright it. And can I add rules so no one else could use the same images to take from my book and sell it. to others

  • 3:24 – tf kinda weird doll porn u into?

  • 8:26 – "They get these rights at the moment the work is created. **Authors don't have to register their works to be protected**, but there are benefits to registration. For example, **authors can't go to federal court to enforce their copyright unless they've registered it**."

    Ay? How does that work? If you're not registered, how can you simultaneously "be protected" and yet not be able to actually enforce the copyright those protections (supposedly) grant?

  • All Your Beauty Needs

    Would love to see a video of how to actually file for a patent in the uk as I’m in the uk and can only find info on YouTube about US patents
    Ps great video entertaining and educational thanks for sharing all this info 🥳

  • I vaguely understand all of it. should of speak more plainly.

  • Intergalactic Angst Carrier & Co.

    I think it’s WAY to long

  • William Pfingten

    To long

  • Samantha Brown

    Thats a ridiculous amount of time how do artists successfully get around it like with teeturtle and other sellers

  • VERY SPECIFIC QUESTION: I want to make BT21 merch, but am I allowed to? Say I want to make a phone case, if I DRAW a character myself but it looks like the original character, will I get sued?

  • I think it is extremely very long. It can be like medical parents 15 years or digital 7 years. That it. Any Creator should keep the rights more than this.

  • Copyright = Theft

  • The downfall:
    YouTube Rewind 2018
    The ad-pocalypse
    The copyright issue
    T-series beats (and sues) PewDiePie

  • Justin.i.Daniel


  • Emily Jayne Bunting

    so useful for school stuff thanks

  • China brought me here.

  • That intro music is ear-splitting

  • Copyright law ©

    FBI Anti-Piracy Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

  • you are good but its to fast. what happen to this so fast

  • all of us should be greatfull of crashcourse

  • kenneth cedric alcazar

    5:44 i thought it was shrek

  • I am a law student studying copyright and from my understanding of the law this video is fantastically done. Highly accurate, incredibly comprehensive for a ten minute video, well organized, interesting.

  • Can i use notes taken from your videos to teach my students without mentioning where i got them from?

  • I think that we are all copyrighted.

  • all i did was draw and got suspendded from live streams

  • Prranjal Shrivaastav

    When Americans and Brits copy something from the outside world, they call it a Copyright. So that the original inventors, researchers or creators can't patent it on their name and all the fame becomes the right to copy of the copyists. When China does the same they propagate their western world to hate Communism and keep the right to copy all for themselves.

  • Muhammad Mubashirullah

    It went over my head. I'm not learning much 🙁

  • Princess Lunafreya

    People should be able to enjoy music on YouTube. I want to see and hear the lyrics of a song instead of just reading from the booklet. It's boring.

  • ©2020 Ivy Besmonte

  • Where is John? I wanna more law courses. And I want John, or Hank, not Stan, pls.

  • Is Stan like related to the Green brothers in anyway? He literally looks like John's older brother. He resembles John more than Hank does!

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