Do the DocDownloader Terms of Service require me to give away my copyright on the documents I upload to DocDownloader?
No. Under U.S. law, every written work is covered by a copyright. You own the copyright to a work by creating the work or otherwise acquiring the copyright to the work from the creator of the work. When you sign up for an DocDownloader account, you agree to adhere to the DocDownloader Terms of Service. In order to upload a work onto DocDownloader in compliance with the Terms of Service, you must either (i) own the copyright to the work you are uploading or (ii) have authority from the copyright owner to upload the work and grant a license to DocDownloader to include that work on the DocDownloader service. The Terms of Service further state that when you upload a work to DocDownloader, you grant to DocDownloader a license to use and distribute your uploaded content. This eliminates any doubt that DocDownloader's use and distribution of your content through the DocDownloader service does not infringe your, or anyone else's, copyright. This is only a license -- you (or the person who authorized you to upload the content) still hold the copyright to the content you upload. You can revoke DocDownloader’s license to use the content you upload by removing your content from DocDownloader.
What is copyright?
We strongly encourage DocDownloader users to familiarize themselves with copyright law before creating and uploading documents. We offer the following links to copyright law resources for informational purposes:
U.S. Copyright Office Copyright FAQ
Chilling Effects Clearinghouse Copyright FAQ
What type of materials are copyrighted?
Copyright is the right of an author of a creative work to prevent others from using that work, including copying it. Copyright can cover almost any creative expression (including a book, comic book, writing, or picture). If you did not create a work and do not have the consent of the copyright holder to publish or use it, your use of that work may be unauthorized.
What happens if I upload documents for which I don’t own the copyright or have consent of the copyright holder?
If you upload documents to which you don’t own the copyright and don’t have permission to upload, you risk getting sued by the copyright owner. If we are notified that a document you have uploaded on DocDownloader infringes someone’s copyright, we will notify you and take down the document you posted. This is required by law. If you persist in uploading unauthorized content, we will, pursuant to our Repeat Infringer policy, ban you from using DocDownloader.
What about fair use?
The "fair use" doctrine is a defense to copyright infringement in the United States that allows the reproduction of a work for certain limited purposes such as criticism, commentary, parody, news reporting, research and teaching. Fair use is a complicated doctrine, and it is an open question whether a particular use of a copyrighted work constitutes fair use. You are responsible for your contributions and may be liable for money damages if it is determined that you wrongly assumed that your use of certain content constituted “fair use”. We offer the following links to various copyright law resources relating to the fair use doctrine for informational purposes:
U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use
Stanford University Libraries Copyright & Fair Use
Chilling Effects Clearinghouse Copyright and Fair Use
Further Information Regarding Copyright Infringement:
The length of a copied document does not matter, nor does the amount you may have copied; even a copying a small portion of a document may cause you to be liable for copyright infringement.
A copyright notice (i.e. ©) is generally not required for a work to be protected by copyright law.
Distributing documents containing copyrighted content without the copyright owner’s permission is a violation of copyright law even if you give the document away for free.
There is no exception for private copying in U.S. law. Even if you share a work with only a small group of your friends or family, you could still be liable for copyright infringement.
You can be liable for copyright infringement even if you give attribution to the owner or Author of the copyrighted content.
Even if you used your creativity to make a new document that contained another person’s copyrighted work, you may be liable for copyright infringement.
Even if there are documents on the DocDownloader site similar to the one you uploaded, you may be liable for copyright infringement if you upload an unauthorized document.
The only way that you can know for certain that a document does not infringe anyone else’s copyright is if you created the entire document yourself (including any images) without using anyone else’s copyrighted work.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: WE ARE NOT YOUR ATTORNEYS AND THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS COPYRIGHT FAQ IS FOR YOUR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS FAQ IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE OF ANY KIND. THIS FAQ MAY NOT COVER IMPORTANT ISSUES THAT AFFECT YOUR USE OF CONTENT. YOU MAY WISH TO CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY ABOUT SUCH MATTERS.