Copyright Law

1. What is a copyright?
2. What can be copyrighted?
3. What can’t be copyrighted?
4. How long does a copyright last?
5. What rights does a copyright owner have?
6. Do I have to register in order get copyright protection?
7. I have sold my work and the new owner is changing it in a way I don’t approve of! Do I have any rights?
8. Can you help me file a copyright or respond to a legal notice I have received?

    1. What is a copyright?


A copyright is a form of protection provided to “original works of authorship.” Copyrights are the legal rights which give the author power over his works, allowing him to control the copying, distribution, reproduction, and performance thereof. These rights may be individually licensed out as desired by the copyright owner.


    2. What can be copyrighted?


Virtually all forms of artistic work or representation can be copyrighted. This includes traditional art, music, and dramatic works (performance art) as well as audio, motion pictures, and audiovisual works. Modernly, software’s literal code is also protected by copyright (while the methods behind that software might be patentable). Compilations and other derivative works can receive copyrights in and of themselves, independent of the copyrights associated with the individual works therein.

    3. What can’t be copyrighted?


Single words, short phrases, or mere ideas. The essence of copyright law is in protecting the unique expression of an idea; thus concepts that have limited forms of expression are generally not protectable. However, they may be protected by other avenues of IP law (such as trademarks or patents).

    4. How long does a copyright last?


Copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. For works created before January 1, 1978 different rules apply.

    5. What rights does a copyright owner have?


Generally, the right to reproduction, distribution, public performance, or to create derivative works (such as spinoffs or sequels). A copyright owner can license any of these rights to others as they wish. Under certain conditions and jurisdictions, the original author may have “moral rights” even if he has sold or otherwise lost the copyright on his work.

    6. Do I have to register in order get copyright protection?


Copyright protection is automatically obtained the moment an original work is fixed in a tangible medium. However, registration increases your rights, including the ability to enforce your right as the copyright owner. In general, it is a good idea to register as soon as possible, ideally within 3 months of publication.

    7. I have sold my work and the new owner is changing it in a way I don’t approve of! Do I have any rights?


You might! There are certain protections given to the original author of works, known as “moral rights.” These rights vary greatly by jurisdiction as well as the medium in which your work exists. Generally, the United States does not have strong recognition of moral arts, although some do exist. Internationally, French-based legal systems tend to exhibit stronger moral rights recognitions.

    8. Can you help me file a copyright or respond to a legal notice I have received?


Absolutely! Please call us for a FREE consultation on your matter: (657) 333-6264.

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