Christian Writers and Copyright Law

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Christian writers and copyright law — it’s an issue that should concern all content creators. Most Christian writers want to follow intellectual property rights laws, but sometimes they go overboard. They don’t realize that they can legally and ethically use many resources in their writing projects without seeking permission.

There Are No New Ideas

Human culture was built on borrowing and enhancing existing ideas. As Solomon said, “There is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  That’s one reason why ideas cannot be copyrighted, only the specific expression of them. The same idea can be expressed in many different ways and that is both acceptable and legal.

Even the exact expression of ideas falls into the Public Domain after a period of time and anyone can use them.

Also, you are legally entitled to use small portions of the exact words of others, without their permission, when they comply with the Fair Use provisions of the US Copyright law.

A Thumbnail Copyright Law Guide

This infographic offers guidelines about the type of things you can use without copyright concerns.

Remember that while some things cannot be copyrighted, they can be trademarked and receive legal protection that way. Some processes (inventions) can’t be copyrighted, but they can get legal protection though a patent. When it comes down to specific cases about questionable matters, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in intellectual property rights.

copyright law

Image credit: This infographic was adapted from this source.


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