What is Copyright?
Copyright is an exclusive right to make and distribute copies of a work, to perform or display that work publicly and to make new works based on the originally created work. Copyright protects against copying of the work, but does not protect against the use of the subject matter of the work. Copyright protects both published and unpublished original works that are in a fixed form of expression. Only the author or creator of the work and those who obtain their rights through the author can claim copyright in a work.
What is protected by copyright?
- Literary works including computer programs
- Music works and their words
- Pantomimes and choreographic works
- Dramatic works and their music
- Pictorial, graphic and sculptural works including architectural plans
- Motion pictures and audio-visual works
- Sound recordings
- Architectural works
What cannot be protected?
- Any work that is not in a fixed form of expression
- Works consisting of common property and in which there is no original authorship
- Names, phrases and slogans
- Ideas, procedures or concepts
Why register original works for copyright protection?
Just like any of the other assets of your business, your ownership of originally created works should be adequately protected. Federal Copyright Registration not only informs the public that you own the copyright in a work, but is also useful to establish and validate your rights in the event of infringement of the work. The existence of such registration allows you to take immediate action if an infringer refuses to stop unauthorized use of your work. Additionally, registration of the copyright with the U.S. Customs Service assists in preventing importation of infringing copies of the work from outside the United States.