The law of copyright protects all creative and intellectual work from being replicated and provides its original creator with due recognition. There are certain myths pertaining to this law that should be clear in the minds of people concerned with this field to avoid unnecessary complications, be it social or legal.
One of the biggest myths attached to copyright law is that a copyrighted work is essentially supplemented with a copyright notice. This may have been true at one point of time, but not anymore. The Berne Convention establishes that intellectual property created after April 1, 1989 is automatically protected by copyright law with or without any notices attached. Nevertheless, a notice does re-enforce the protection and clears all doubts in the minds of the viewers.
Another common myth is that copyrighted work can be duplicated if there is no monetary transaction involved. This is a misconception and the law is violated even if there is no monetary implication.
Thirdly, any work on the Usenet does not indicate that it is in public domain. Work enters public domain only on expiry of copyrights or when the owner has explicitly stated that he or she grants the work to public domain abandoning all copyrights.
Most people misuse the doctrine of fair use. Fair use signifies liberty to utilize work protected under copyright law to a certain extent. The concept of fair use was introduced to allow freedom of expression. However, one needs to be careful about not hurting the profitability of the document in totality. There is also confusion with copyrights on trademarks. When trademarks are in question, the law of copyright applies to a particular terminology in relation to a specific business. No one owns any particular title as such. Someone else for some other line of work can use the same title.
Any work derived from an original piece definitely violates the copyright law; no matter how much creativity it may showcase. However, fair use does exempt criticism or satire of work. Posting emails may not be an extremely serious offense if no commercial value is attached to the message. However, it is wiser to stay within legal norms and take approval before indulging in the same.
Many live in the myth that copyright violation will not get them into any significant trouble as it is no great crime. The violation of copyright law definitely results in getting sued and in certain proven cases it has been established as a felony by the court. However, since it is a relatively new statute, procedure may not be as well known. Nevertheless, one should refrain from all temptations of plagiarizing copyrighted work and instead adhere to the regulations.