Copyright

We assist clients in filing copyright applications, transferring interests in copyrighted registrations, and counseling clients on copyright disputes and infringement matters. We also provide training on filing copyright applications.

What is a copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (Title 17 of the U.S. Code) to the authors of "original works of authorship" including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, architectural works and computer programs. Section 106 of the Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

  • To reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
  • To prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
  • To distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
  • To perform the copyrighted work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works.
  • To display the copyrighted 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.

In other words, the owner of the copyright or his/her successor is the only one who can legally profit from it

Who can claim copyright?

Copyright protection begins at the time the work is created in fixed form; that is, put down on paper or recorded on a hard copy, such as a disk or record. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created it. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright.

What works are protected?

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:

  • literary works including text of brochures, marketing;
  • proposals and computer programs.
  • 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; and architectural works.

Why is notice of copyright important?

Use of the notice is recommended because it informs the public that the work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright owner, and shows the year of first publication.

The use of the copyright notice is the responsibility of the copyright owner and does not require advance permission from, or registration with, the Copyright Office.

What is the proper form of notice?

The notice for visually perceptible copies should contain all of the following three elements:

  1. The symbol © (the letter C in a circle), or the word "Copyright," or the abbreviation "Copr."; for audio recordings, use the letter "P" in a circle; P for sound records or phonorecords.
  2. The year of first publication of the work. In the case of compilations or derivative works incorporating previously published material, the year date of first publication of the compilation or derivative work is sufficient. The year date may be omitted where a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, with accompanying textual matter, if any, is reproduced in or on greeting cards, postcards, stationery, jewelry, dolls, toys, or any useful article;
  3. The name of the owner of copyright in the work, or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner.
  4. Example: © 2002 John Doe


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