A Article by bianca

Author: PRO bianca
Created: March 19, 2010 at 12:44 am
Upload Type: Article, G (All)  
Category: Educational | Justice/Legal | Non Fiction
Upload Stats: 4 comments and 4067 views

Understanding Copyright

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 This protection is available to both published and unpublished works.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

© 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.

Last Modified: June 08, 2010 at 01:12 am
© bianca - all rights reserved

Author Notes

Sources include:
The United States Copyright Office:

The author would love to hear your feedback but you must be logged in to do that. If you are a member of Writers-Network click here to login and review this writing entry.

Not a member? Not a problem! You can register here, it's free for everyone

Comments & Reviews ( X 4)

August 19, 2013
Helpful? Thumbs UpThumbs Down
this was very informative and useful to know as i have been wondering what to if I ever decide to copy write something

There are no comments on this review.

March 03, 2011
Helpful? Thumbs UpThumbs Down
Very useful to know, thanks!

There are no comments on this review.

January 26, 2011
Helpful? Thumbs UpThumbs Down
Very Informative
This was very helpful in providing the legal aspect of copywrighting. I do have a question though; I have always heard tha if you do not have the fees needed to copywrite your work then, a poor mans copywrite is just as good until you do have the needed fees. A poor mans copywrite is when you take the original work and by writing your name on the paper and the copywrite symbol along with the date it was created, you then mail it to yourself in a secure envelope and when you get it back you leave it unopened unless you need to prove that someone has plagerised your work. The mailing date will be visible on the outside of the envelope and the fact that it has remained unopened from the date of the post mark will give you ample proof in a court of law.

Not exactly. The poor man's copyright is not binding and could be tampered with (for example, mailing yourself an UN-sealed envelope and adding documents at a later date) and therefore *may* not be admissible in a court of law. I would not feel comfortable recommending this method. You can read more about this topic in our forum: http://www.writers-network.com/forum/support-board/copyright-explained/

  bianca replied on March 04, 2011

June 04, 2010
Helpful? Thumbs UpThumbs Down
Thank you for posting this information. It is a good article to refer back to when questions arise.

There are no comments on this review.

write Submit New Writing

Welcome Writers!
Sponsored Writing Ad
Today is April 20, 2018 and there are 16 writers online.

Featured Writers

42 Writing Uploads
183 Writing Uploads
25 Writing Uploads
1076 Writing Uploads

Upgrade to PRO

Top Reviewers

  1. kitty

From Our Sponsors