Outright plagiarism still happens. Copying and modifying a theme gets us into murky waters. And then there is the matter of ideas and proposals that contain the idea for a work. Some of it is entitled to protection. Some of it takes finessing in order to make certain it doesn't unintentionally become public domain. And some simply isn't protected - or maybe it isn't.
Then there's the idea presented to a professional organization. "That's a fantastic idea," someone exclaims. "Let's work on it together so we can develop the details." Of course that collaboration happens. And then the colleague is mysteriously unavailable, that is, until they produce an initiative under their own authorship.
We need to be certain of the ethics of those with whom we're working and that they understand the principles of copyright. That doesn't mean browbeat everyone with your encyclopedic knowledge each time you have a discussion. But some preliminaries are justified. Observe the members of the group and learn about their habits and beliefs. Notice how they treat others. Have a conversation about their understanding of limits and boundaries, what will happen and under what circumstances is a healthy idea. (Document it.) If you see eye to eye, move forward. If they breach the understanding, it's time to move on to a healthier environment that focused on mutual benefits.
Be clever with your creations. Be smart and informed with how you handle marketing and publishing them. Be agreeable but also be wise about the nebulous subject of copyright.
- What Does Copyright Protect?, Copyright.gov
- Copyright, IPWatchdog.com
- Can You Copyright an Idea?, Brian A. Klems, Writer's Digest (July 29, 2013)
- FREE DOWNLOAD: What is Plagiarism? – And other Copyright Law FAQs, Writer's Digest
- How To Copyright An Idea For Film Or TV, (How to Copyright and Protect Your Ideas), Stephanie Palmer, Good in a Room
- Protecting Your Ideas: Copyright Boundaries, Howard G. Zaharoff, Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, PC (May 15, 2001)
- A Brief History of Copyright, Intellectual Property Rights Office
- History of Copyright (2005)
- Copyright law of the United States, Wikipedia
- Gaye vs. Thicke: How blurred are the lines of copyright infringement?, By Matthew D. Morrison, OUPBlog, Oxford University Press (March 26th 2015)
- Intellectual Property in the New Technological Age 2017: Vol. II Copyrights, Trademarks and State IP Protections
- Digital Rights Summit