Legal Question in Technology Law in Pennsylvania

signature pages

i have a web site which i design e-mail signature pages, i go to the internet and look for the pictures, backgrounds, lines, buttons, and music. I put it into a holdling place and then use them to make up my own pages. I need to know if i can get in trouble doing this. I intend on getting my own domane name and a copyright license. I don't not use picture or anything else that does not say that i can use them. if someone could help me it would be greatly appreciated.

Asked on 2/19/03, 11:18 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

William Marvin Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C.

Re: signature pages

Yep, it sounds like what you're doing violates copyright law. I understand you to say that you're downloading files with graphics, music, etc., and then planning to paste them into your own creations, to sell.

One of the most basic concepts about copyright is frequently misunderstood, because you often see a copyright notice, like, "Copyright 1992 John Doe".

It is not necessary to put a copyright notice or to register your work, to have copyright protection. Those steps make it easier to enforce a copyright, but any art, music, photos, is AUTOMATICALLY copyrighted as soon as it's created. There's no such thing as a "copyright license." You can register works that you create by filling out a form and sending the fee to the govertment office. You can get lots of info and forms at their web site:

There are exceptions. Some works may be public domain, if the copyright's expired, or the maker deliberately did so. There's also fair use, but copying someone else's art into your own thing, and selling it as your own, is not fair use.

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Answered on 2/19/03, 11:57 am

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