A copyright protects your intellectual property so that no one can legally copy your creative expressions. Understand and use copyright protection correctly to protect your artistic expressions. Copyright literally means the right to copy.
Time Required: Ongoing
- A copyright is a form of intellectual property law that provides protection for original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works. Copyrights protect poems, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.
- Copyright protection is available to both published and unpublished works.
- Copyright protection does not protect the same things as a patent or trademark would. Copyright protection does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.
- Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form so that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.
- Copyright protection apply to any works 'whether or not' the materials are officially copyrighted meaning registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.
- Registering copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office will help if there is a legal dispute.
- You can download the forms needed to register from the Copyright Office. Registering a copyright is inexpensive, around thirty dollars. It takes about two months for the Office to process your registration.
- Your work is protected with or without a copyright notice on it. The notice might help to deter copyright infringment. You can put a copyright notice immediately on your work without registering.
- The copyright notice includes the symbol ©, the year the work was finished and the author's name. It should look like this example: © 2000 Your Name. All Rights Reserved. Use a "P" in the center of the circle for phonorecords.
- Only the copyright owner or someone authorized by the owner has the right to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords or to create derivative works based on the works.
- Only the copyright owner or someone authorized by the owner has the right to distribute copies or phonorecords to the public by sale, rental or lease.
- Only the copyright owner or someone authorized by the owner can perform the work publicly, display the work publicly or as in the case of sound recordings perform the work publicly via digital audio transmissions.
- A copyright today would provide the protection and exclusive rights, lasting the life of the author plus seventy years.
- You cannot copyright works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression. You cannot copyright titles, names, slogans, or familiar symbols. You cannot copyright works derived entirely from public domain information or common knowledge.
- Works for hire means being hired or under contract to someone to create works (i.e. hired to design a website or logo). In that case the person that hired/contracted you becomes the copyright owner and holds copyright protection rights.