[quote="Allegra, post:8, topic:329008"]
But copyrights expire after a certain amount of time and those texts become part of the public domain. Also, in order for it to effect other people, copyright has to be claimed by someone. If something is written anonymously, no one knows who created it and copywrite isn't claimed. Also, work can be created in which the creator purposely relinquishes copyrights so that others can use it for free.
Life of the author plus 70 years or 95 years for corporate works.
And as I said above, no one has to actively claim copyright. It's there.
And yeah, there's a copyright even if it's difficult to know who owns it. This becomes an issue with publishing. In academia, for example, someone may be writing a dissertation. Because dissertations are published (most universities use ProQuest so ProQuest has to make sure the licenses are in place) they need permission to use copyrighted info. It becomes a HUGE problem if the copyright owner is hard to track down.
Again, if the OP is publishing a book, copyright is an issue and fair use doesn't apply the way it would if she/he was writing a paper for a class.
With something like Creative Commons the author still holds the copyright but gives permission for other people to use it without additional licensing or permission. The copyright is still there.