The protection of our certifications by US Copyright Laws
As I was forumlating a response to this comment, I decided it would probably be best as a blog of its own. Since the topic of Copyrights is frequently misunderstood, and because the author of the comment linked above is apparently one of those who frequently misunderstand. I’d like to point out a few things here that will help those of you who also misunderstand the topic. Anyone truly interested in knowning more about US Copyright Laws or International Copyright Laws is encouraged to visit the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO).

From this page: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/dcom/olia/copyright/basics.htm

This is merely a basic definition of WHAT the copyright is, but not how to obtain one.

A Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of “original works of authorship” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. The 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, or to display the copyrighted work publicly.

From this page (A Copyright Refresher): http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/dcom/olia/copyright/copyrightrefresher.htm

Here are some of the more important excerpts that dispel the claims made by victor geisler:

Every year, millions of Americans create original works – books, music, research and other forms of creative expression. All of these creations are intellectual property, and all of them are protected by copyright Microsoft MCTS Training.

Note the part I set in bold. That is one sentence (there is another below) that dispels the belief that “In order to copyright ANYTHING you must first apply and be granted a copyright on a work, you cannot simply declare it.” Simply put, copyrights ARE automatic now.
What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by U.S. law to the authors of “original works of authorship” fixed in any tangible medium of expression. The manner and medium of fixation are virtually unlimited. Creative expression may be captured in words, numbers, notes, sounds, pictures, or any other graphic or symbolic media. The subject matter of copyright is extremely broad, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, audiovisual, and architectural works. Copyright protection is available to both published and unpublished works.

So even if the questions have never been published, they are STILL under US Copyright Law and theft of them is considered copyright infringement; and therefore punishable in a US Court of Law.
How can I secure a copyright?

This is where it gets interesting, pay attention!!

This is a frequently misunderstood topic because many people believe that you must register your work before you can claim copyright. However, no publication, registration or other action in the Copyright Office is required to secure copyright. Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and a work is “created” when it is fixed in a “copy or a phonorecord for the first time.”

Ahhh…there it is. The first sentence says it all. Now, registration of work with the US Copyright Office is NOT required, but it IS recommended. And, if you think for one minute that large companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA, and the other US Based certification vendors (who KNOW that their materials WILL get stolen) are NOT going to send one person, out of a team of legal professionals, to a website to register their work, then you’ve REALLY got a lot to learn.
How long does copyright protection last?

For purposes of this blog, let’s assume that all works have been created AFTER January 1, 1978. For anything published BEFORE, there is a whole different (albeit similar) set of rule on the page.

The length of your copyright depends on when the work was created, published, and/or registered. Duration also depends on whether the work was created by an individual, more than one individual, or as employee or at the direction of another person or company. For works created by individual authors on or after January 1, 1978, copyright protection begins at the moment of creation and lasts for a period of 70 years after the author’s death. In the case of “a joint work” (prepared by two or more authors) the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving author’s death. For works made for hire, and for anonymous and pseudonymous works, copyright protection generally lasts for 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter Microsoft MCITP Certification.

Will my copyright protect me overseas?

There is no such thing as an “international copyright” that will automatically protect an author’s works in countries around the world. Instead, copyright protection is “territorial” in nature, which means that copyright protection depends on the national laws where protection is sought. However, most countries are members of the Berne Convention on the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and/or the Universal Copyright Convention, the two leading international copyright agreements, which provide important protections for foreign authors. Under these treaties, a qualifying work foreign work generally must receive the same protection as a local work. This bedrock principle of international copyright law is called “national treatment.” International copyright agreements also set forth certain “minimum standards” of copyright protection.

This is really where our Certifications are affected because 99% of the companies that are producing braindumps are based in India, China, or Pakistan. I’ll actually be learning much more about this during one session of this year’s ATP convention, but from my current understanding, in order to actually take action on any individual or company in another Country (such as India, China, or Pakistan) our Governments have to be in agreement. This not only makes going after those miscreants in other countries very difficult, but it also makes it VERY expensive.

I guess having this basic understanding puts me in a group that better understands why this hinders our ability to take action against EVERY website that promotes or distributes braindumps. I don’t expect everyone to understand this, as it is just beyond the comprehension level of some, but if you don’t fully understand it, ASK someone that does so they can explain it to you in a manner that you will comprehend. Please don’t just spout off false statements thinking that people are going to believe you.