BASICS OF COPYRIGHT LAW

Written on:February 17, 2013
Comments are closed

What is a copyright?  In general, copyright law protects an artistic expression of an idea; it does not protect the underlying idea itself.

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works.  The Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

• reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords;

• prepare derivative works based upon the work;

• distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

• perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works;

• display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work; and

• perform the work publicly (in the case of sound recordings*) by means of a digital audio transmission.

It is illegal for anyone to violate any of the rights provided by the copyright law to the owner of copyright. These rights, however, are not unlimited in scope. Sections 107 through 122 of the 1976 Copyright Act establish limitations on these rights. In some cases, these limitations are specified exemptions from copyright liability. One major limitation is the doctrine of “fair use,” which is given a statutory basis in section 107 of the 1976 Copyright Act. In other instances, the limitation takes the form of a “compulsory license” under which certain limited uses of copyrighted works are permitted upon payment of specified royalties and compliance with statutory conditions.

Copyright Registration

Written on:February 16, 2013
Comments
are closed
filingacopyright

In general, copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright.  However, registration is not a condition of copyright protection. Even though registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides several inducements or advantages to encourage copyright owners to make registration. Among these advantages are the following: • Registration establishes a public record of the copyright…

Read more...

How Long Copyright Protection Endures

Written on:February 16, 2013
Comments
are closed
Calendar_0

Works Originally Created on or after January 1, 1978 A work that was created (fixed in tangible form for the first time) on or after January 1, 1978, is automatically protected from the moment of its creation and is ordinarily given a term enduring for the author’s life plus an additional 70 years after the author’s death. In the case of “a joint work prepared by two or more authors…

Read more...

How to Secure a Copyright

Written on:February 16, 2013
Comments
are closed
Placeholder3

Copyright Secured Automatically upon Creation The way in which copyright protection is secured is frequently misunderstood. No publication or registration or other action in the Copyright Office is required to secure copyright. See the following note. There are, however, certain definite advantages to registration. Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and a work is “created” when it is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the first…

Read more...

What Is Not Protected by Copyright?

Written on:February 16, 2013
Comments
are closed
PD logo

Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include among others: • works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (for example, choreographic works that have not been notated or recorded, or improvisational speeches or performances that have not been written or recorded); • titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or…

Read more...

What Works Are Protected?

Written on:February 16, 2013
Comments
are closed
copyright

Copyright protects “original works of authorship” that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. The fixation need not be directly perceptible so long as it may be communicated with the aid of a machine or device. Copyrightable works include the following categories. 1. literary works 2. musical works, including any accompanying words 3. dramatic works, including any accompanying music 4. pantomimes and choreographic works 5. pictorial, graphic, and sculptural…

Read more...

Copyright and National Origin of the Work

Written on:February 16, 2013
Comments
are closed
Patent-Attorney (2)

Copyright protection is available for all unpublished works, regardless of the nationality or domicile of the author.  Published works are eligible for copyright protection in the United States if any one of the following conditions is met: • On the date of first publication, one or more of the authors is a national or domiciliary of the United States, or is a national, domiciliary, or sovereign authority of a treaty…

Read more...

Who Can Claim Copyright?

Written on:February 16, 2013
Comments
are closed
32171-373x322-Copyrightowner

Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright. In the case of works made for hire, the employer and not the employee is considered to be the author.  Section 101 of the…

Read more...