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Here's a scenario: You want to make an image for your micronation. You search for whatever you want in the background on Google Images. You click on the image and go to the site it is on. You do not find a copyright notice on or under or anywhere else near the image. That means it's not copyrighted, right?
According to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, any creative work, be it an image, music, a movie, a text or even a piece of software, is automatically copyrighted by the person(s) or entity or entities that are responsible for its creation. There is no need for a notice. On the contrary. Things need to have a notice by the original creator to state that he does not claim his full rights of intellectual property rights. Of course, things without a notice can also be under a free license or in the Public Domain, but you can't be sure. That is why, for such things, you must contact the creator and ask whether you are permitted to use it. You cannot just assume that it is not copyrighted.
Copyright, in legal terms, does not need to be maintained or advertised by the copyright holder, unlike trademarks. All you have to prove to a court if you are suing someone for violating your copyright is that (a) you are indeed the person who created the work and (b) you did not release the work under a free license or into the public domain. So the responsibility lies with you, the user of online images, to make absolutely sure that something is free if there is no notice, namely by contacting the creator, or, if it doesn't say who created it, the site on which you found the image.
If we find the image you created in violation or questionable state of copyright and delete it, you must then provide us with proof that explicitly states the image to be free or public domain. Then, and only then, may you reupload the image.
Thank you for your co-operation.
DISCLAIMER: This page does not constitute legal advice. Neither MicroWiki, nor its editors, nor its administrators, nor its webhosts are responsible for any inaccuracies on this or any MicroWiki page. For detailed and accurate advice on copyrights, consult a lawyer or similarly qualified professional. By using the information on this page, you agree not to litigate against MicroWiki or its editors for any reasons relating to this page.
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