A copyright is an Intellectual Property right grounded in the United States Constitution in which an author or creator’s expression of ideas is legally protected. Copyright is available for both published and unpublished literary, artistic, musical, and other original works of authoring, and their forms of expression. Under the 1976 Copyright Act, the author or creator is given five exclusive rights: the right to reproduce the work; the right to prepare derivative works; the right to distribute copies of the work; the right to perform the work; and the right to display the work.
Copyright protection begins immediately when the intellectual work is created and is fixed in a tangible form. Although an author is not required to legally register the intellectual work with the United States Copyright Office, doing so enables the author to sue if his/her rights are infringed upon, and registering the copyright establishes a public record of the copyright claim. To register a work, one must fill out an application, pay a filing fee and submit a non-returnable copy or copies of the work to be registered.
Copyright violations have become rampant with the growing popularity of the Internet. While there are often safe-harbors for alleged copyright infringers, it is critical to take immediate action against those infringing activities in order to maintain value in a copyright. Because copies of works can be made with a click of a mouse, it is important to properly mark and register copyrights at the time of creation and publication in order to provide the copyright owner with the best remedies available.
For more information on copyrights and or the copyright registration process, please contact our office.