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What is Copyright & How Does it Work?

  Posted By: ArticleMistress   |   Views: 2162  |   Words: 541  |   PDF View   |   Print View   |  HTML Version
  
 
What is Copyright?
Copyright protects and gives the creator of an original work (including literary, artistic, dramatic, musical, and most other intellectual works) exclusive rights to it. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. It is designed to protect your intellectual property and prevent the unauthorized use of it by others.

Who can claim a copyright?
Copyright automatically exists the moment your work is created and gives you control over who can reproduce, modify, distribute, perform, or broadcast your work. You can sell, transfer or license this right. In the case of works made for hire (if you have created the work as part of your job for someone who has hired you), the employer and NOT the employee is considered to be the author.

What kinds of works are eligible for copyright?
Anything that is fixed in a tangible form of expression is protected. Copyrightable works include the following categories:

* literary works

* musical works, including any accompanying words

* dramatic works, including any accompanying music

* pantomimes and choreographic works

* pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works

* motion pictures and other audiovisual works

* sound recordings

* architectural works


What is not protected by Copyright?
There are several categories of works that are not generally considered to be eligible for copyright protection (as described by the U.S. Copyright Office). These include, among others:

- Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (for example, choreographic works, improvisational speeches or performances that have not been noted, written or recorded)

- Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents

- Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration

- Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources)


How to secure a copyright
Copyright is secured automatically upon creation. No publication, registration or other action is required to secure copyright; however, it is strongly recommended that you register your copyright with your federal copyright / intellectual property office. Doing so makes a public record of your copyright and will establish prima facie evidence in court should copyright infringement arise. You will also be able to seek statutory damages and attorney’s fees in court actions.

Notice of Copyright:
All works--published or unpublished, registered or not--can be accompanied by the copyright notice. Although it is no longer required, it is still beneficial. The notice should contain the following three elements:

* The symbol ©

* The year of first publication.

* The name of the copyright owner

Example:
© 2009 Jane Doe

How long does copyright protection last?
A work that was created on or after January 1, 1978, is automatically protected from the moment of its creation. The copyright lasts for the entire life span of the author + (plus) an additional 70 years after the author’s death.

Sources: The United States Copyright Office http://www.copyright.gov/


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