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Copyright is the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical work whether it is printed, audio, video, etc. Works which are granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978 are thereafter protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and also for an extended period of 50 years after their death.

UFSGrid takes Copyright and Copyright infringement very seriously. It is for that reason we have provided this resource to give all users an idea of what Copyrights are, different licenses, and how to go about reporting any violations of Copyright law.


There are multiple different forms of licensing and terms available for Copyright content including, but not limited to, Fair Use, Creative Commons, Public Domain, and too many others to cover in the scope of this article. That said, we will briefly cover a few of these in a little more detail below.

Creative Commons

Founded in 2001, Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization which aims to facilitate the legal sharing of creative works. To this end the organization provides a number of copyright license options to the public, free of charge. These licenses allow copyright holders to define conditions under which others may use a work and to specify what types of use are acceptable. Terms of use have traditionally been negotiated on an individual basis between copyright holder and potential licensee. Therefore, a general CC license outlining which rights the copyright holder is willing to waive enables the general public to use such works more freely. Six general types of CC licenses are available. These are based upon copyright holder stipulations such as whether he or she is willing to allow modifications to the work, whether he or she permits the creation of derivative works and whether he or she is willing to permit commercial use of the work. As of 2009 approximately 130 million individuals had received such licenses. More information about Creative Commons is available on their website [here]. Source: [Wikipedia]

Fair Use

In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an illegal infringement.

So what is a “transformative” use? If this definition seems ambiguous or vague, be aware that millions of dollars in legal fees have been spent attempting to define what qualifies as a fair use. There are no hard-and-fast rules, only general rules and varied court decisions, because the judges and lawmakers who created the fair use exception did not want to limit its definition. Like free speech, they wanted it to have an expansive meaning that could be open to interpretation. Most fair use analysis falls into two categories: (1) commentary and criticism, or (2) parody. Source: [Stanford University Libraries]

Public Domain

The public domain is the realm of material — ideas, images, sounds, discoveries, facts, texts — that is unprotected by intellectual property rights and free for all to use or build upon. It includes our collective cultural and scientific heritage, and the raw materials for future expression, research, democratic dialogue and education. Public domain material is “free” as in “free speech,” not “free” as in “free beer” — because it is unprotected by intellectual property rights, it is free of centralized control as a legal matter, and you can use it without having to get permission. But we hope that in many cases it would also be available at little or no cost. So for example, the works of Charles Dickens are in the public domain even though they are still for sale, but if you love A Tale of Two Cities you can freely translate it, make it into a movie, or turn it into a present-day tale of two cities without permission. Conversely, many copyrighted works may be available free of cost online, but because they are copyrighted you would need permission before translating or selling or adapting them... Material that is not protectable by copyrights or patents goes immediately into the public domain. This includes the basic building blocks described above — ideas, facts, plotlines, genres, themes, basic chord progressions, scientific principles, theories, formulae, and laws of nature — even if they are part of a larger protected work. It also includes unprotectable works such as US government works and unoriginal databases. Source: [Duke University Law School]

If you would like to learn more about the scope of protection under copyright law within the United States, you may find it helpful to visit the [U.S. Copyright Office website].

Reporting Copyright Infringement

How to Report

UFSGrid maintains a support ticketing system which has been adapted to allow users to indicate that a ticket is categorized as "Abuse". This is the appropriate category for any suspected violations of Copyright within any aspect of Services provided by UFSGrid. Submitting claims of copyright infringement is a very serious matter and involved a legal process. Before filing an abuse ticket, you may wish to contact the person who has posted the content before reporting a claim to us. The matter may be simply resolved between yourself and the other party by bringing it to their attention.

It should also be stated that if you purposefully and knowingly misrepresent infringement, under 17 U.S.C. 512(f) of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) you may be held liable for any damages which include, but are not limited to, costs and attorneys' fees by UFSGrid or UFSGrid Users. If you are not sure that the material you are reporting is infringing on your rights, it is recommended that you obtain legal advice before submitting a report to us.

What to Include Within a Report

When submitting a report regarding Copyright Infringement, it may be required by law that the following is included:

  • Your complete contact information (Full name, mailing address, and phone number). Also note that we may provide your contact information and/or the contents of your report to the user who posted content that you are reporting.
  • A complete description, of the works that you claim infringed copyrights.
  • Information sufficient to permit us to locate the material.
  • A statement declaring that:
    • You have a good faith belief that use of the copyright content described in the manner you have complained of, is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or law.
    • The information in your report is accurate.
    • You declare under the penalty of perjury, that you are the owner or authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive copyright that you are reporting is infringed upon.
  • Your electronic or physical signature.