Copyright FAQs

What is a copyright?

A copyright is a legal right that protects original works of authorship like movies, TV shows, books, sound recordings, music videos, photographs, published articles and other artistic works.  In contrast, words and short phrases such as names, titles and slogans, band names and domain names are not typically subject to copyright, and neither are facts in and of themselves.  In order for a work of authorship to be eligible for copyright protection, it must be fixed in a tangible medium of expression. So, while the “expression” of a work of authorship may be protectable, a non-fixed “idea” is not.

 You can, however, seek a permission or license to use third party copyright protected content and once obtained will have the right to do so subject to the terms and conditions thereof.

 Who is the copyright owner?

Copyright belongs initially to the author or authors of the work.  If a work is a “joint work”—i.e., prepared by two or more authors with the intention that their contributions be merged into one work—then each author is considered a co-owner of the copyright in the work, and share equally in the ownership of the work.  If a work was prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment, and/or was specially ordered or commissioned for use, it may be considered a “work made for hire,” in which case the employer, not the employee, would be considered the copyright owner.

What rights does a copyright owner have?

The copyright law of the United States is set forth in the Copyright Act of 1976, as amended (the “Copyright Act”).  The Copyright Act gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right, during the duration of copyright protection, to do and to authorize others to do the following: (i) to reproduce the work, (ii) to prepare new or derivative works based upon the work, (iii) to distribute copies of the work to the public, (iv) to perform the work publicly, and (v) to display the work publicly, subject to very limited fair use rights of others to use only such amount as necessary to exercise fair use rights (See “What is “fair use”? below).

What does it mean to infringe copyright?

Under the Copyright Act, anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of a copyright owner as set forth above is an infringer of copyright.  As an infringer of copyright, you may be liable to the copyright owner for damages or any profits you made attributable to the infringement.

How does Myspace deal with copyright infringement?

Myspace respects others’ intellectual property rights and has made every effort to secure appropriate clearances for all proprietary intellectual properties that Myspace directly makes available on the Myspace Services, and we require our users to do the same.  Myspace will respond to allegations of copyright violations in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).  The DMCA provides a process for a copyright owner to give notification to an online service provider concerning alleged copyright infringement.  When a valid DMCA notification is received, the service provider responds under this process by taking down the offending content.  Upon taking down content under the DMCA, Myspace will take reasonable steps to contact the owner of the removed content to provide an opportunity for a counter-notification to be filed.  On receiving a valid counter-notification, we generally restore the content in question, unless we receive notice from the notification provider that a legal action has been filed seeking a court order to restrain the alleged infringer from engaging in the alleged infringing activity.  If you believe your copyright work has been infringed on Myspace,  see our Reporting Copyright Infringement help guide.

See our Trademark Infringement Policy for more information about how Myspace handles trademarks and claims of trademark infringement (but please note trademark infringement claims are not covered by the DMCA). 

How do I file a counter-notification?

If content has been removed from your Myspace profile for a report of copyright infringement, you will be notified by email and will be able to review the content removal at your Copyright Management Page.  If you wish to dispute the copyright claim, you will have the option to file a counter-notification through an automated form on the Copyright Management Page.  You may also send a counter-notification via email, fax, or mail to our copyright agent (see How to File a Counter-Notification).

What if I bought a copy of third party content?

If you have purchased a copy of a work (e.g., a DVD of a movie or a CD of music) you generally only have a limited right to view or listen to the work for your personal non-commercial use and the copyright owner retains all other rights, unless otherwise agreed.  Accordingly, unless you have permission from the copyright owner, you cannot copy content off your CD and DVD collections or off of the web and post it to Myspace.  It’s like this, if you create a work, you want to decide who can do what with it, right? Well, think about that with respect to the works of others.

What is “fair use”?

Fair use is an affirmative defense that an alleged copyright infringer may assert when sued for infringement. Under the fair use doctrine, it is not an infringement to use the copyrighted works of another in some circumstances, such as for commentary, criticism, news reporting, or educational use. In these sorts of limited circumstances, someone may use a copyrighted work without permission of the copyright owner.  You should assume all third party content is protected by copyright unless you have determined otherwise with the assistance of legal counsel, and you should not rely on fair use except pursuant to advice of legal counsel.


What rights do I need to have to post content on the Sites?

In addition to permission from third party copyright owners to make use of their video, works of art (including sculptures even if visible in public places), music, graphics, photographs, software and other intellectual property, we require you to obtain permission to depict any persons (except for crowd shots in public places).

When you post content, you have agreed that you have all necessary third party permissions and licenses pursuant to our Terms of Use.  Failure to do so, subjects you to suspension or termination of your account and liability to us and to third parties.

 How can I learn more about copyrights?

There are many available resources on the Internet.  Myspace is not responsible for the content provided by these resources, but we have found the following to be informative:

  • Copyright law is explained by the U.S. Copyright Office here.
  • The non-profit Creative Commonshelps copyright owners offer their content pursuant to a license whereby certain free use by others is permitted.
  • Many universities maintain useful public information regarding copyrights, including the Stanford Copyright & Fair Use Center.

How do I make a DMCA notification?

Please follow the instructions at our Reporting Copyright Infringement help guide precisely.  Inclusion of any information beyond the specifically required information and optional information listed could significantly impede review of your attempted notification.  You may find it simplest to cut-and-paste the numbered items and use them as headings for the information you are submitting.

Can I sign notifications and counter-notifications with my Myspace Services user name?

We will not accept notices that are not signed by a real, legal person.  The DMCA process is a real-world process with real-world ramifications.

 I don’t agree with the required statements.  Do I have to state these things?

We will not accept notices under the DMCA that do not include the statements required by the DMCA.

Can you change the DMCA process?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is federal law, passed by the United States Congress.  Myspace does not have the power to change congressional acts.

 Why is Myspace imposing liability for damages for false claims of copyright infringement?

The liability for damages for false claims is a provision of the DMCA, which was not written by Myspace.  Note that these damages and legal fees can be significant (for example, see Online Policy Group v. Diebold, Inc.).

Can Myspace give me legal advice concerning my claim?

Myspace cannot provide legal advice to you.  If you are uncertain about any legal issues, you are well-advised to obtain the services of a competent legal professional.

Do you terminate accounts based on DMCA claims?

If Myspace believes that a user of the Myspace Services is continually or substantially abusing the DMCA process, either with filings that appear to be without basis, or by continually re-posting content that is the subject of valid DMCA notifications, we may exercise our right to terminate the abusing party’s account.  Keep in mind though, that Myspace’s actions still do not determine the substantive outcome of copyright disputes.  Copyright matters are real-world rights, governed by real-world systems.

 Where can I find more information about the DMCA?

There are many available resources on the Internet.  Myspace is not responsible for the content provided by these other resources, but we have found the following to be informative:

  • A summary of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act can be found here.
  • The text of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act can be found here.
  • The U.S. federal copyright code is located here.