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What Is Copyright?


Copyright refers to the legalright of the owner ofintellectual property. In simplerterms, copyright is the right tocopy. This means that theoriginal creators of productsandanyone they giveauthorization to are the onlyones with the exclusive rightto reproduce the work.Copyright law gives creatorsof original material theexclusive right to further useand duplicate that material fora given amount of time, atwhich point the copyrighteditem becomes public domain.KEY TAKEAWAYSCopyright lawprotects creators oforiginal materialfrom unauthorizedduplication or use.For an original workto be protected bycopyright laws, ithas to be in tangibleform.In the U.S., the workof creators isprotected bycopyright laws until70 years after theirdeath.How CopyrightingWorksWhen someone creates aproduct that is viewed asoriginal and that requiredsignificant mental activity tocreate, this product becomesan intellectual property thatmust be protected fromunauthorized duplication.Examples of unique creationsinclude computer software,art, poetry, graphic designs,musical lyrics andcompositions, novels, film,original architectural designs,website content, etc. Onesafeguard that can be used tolegally protect an originalcreation is copyright.Under copyright law, a work isconsidered original if theauthor created it fromindependent thinking void ofduplication. This type of workis known as an Original Workof Authorship (OWA). Anyonewith an original work ofauthorship automatically hasthe copyright to that work,preventing anyone else fromusing or replicating it. Thecopyright can be registeredvoluntarily by the originalowner if they would like to getan upper hand in the legalsystem in the event that theneed arises.Not all types of work can becopyrighted. A copyright doesnot protect ideas, discoveries,concepts, or theories.Brandnames, logos, slogans, domainnames, and titles also cannotbe protected under copyrightlaw. For an original work to becopyrighted, it has to be intangible form. This means thatany speech, discoveries,musical scores, or ideas haveto be written down in physicalform in order to be protectedby copyright.In the U.S., original owners areprotected by copyright laws allof their lives until 70 yearsafter their death. If theoriginal author of thecopyrighted material is acorporation, the copyrightprotection period will beshorter.U.S. copyright law hasexperienced a number ofamendments and changesthat have altered the durationof copyright protection. The"life of the author plus 70years" protection can beattributed to the 1998Copyright Term Extension Act,(also known as the MickeyMouse Protection Act or SonnyBono Act), which generallyincreased copyrightprotections by 20 years.Important: Copyrightprotection variesfrom country tocountry, and canstand for 50 to100 years afterthe individual’sdeath, dependingon the country.Copyright vs.Trademarks andPatentsWhile copyright law is not all-encompassing, other laws,such aspatent and trademarklaws, may impose additionalsanctions. Although copyrights,trademarks, and patents arefrequently usedinterchangeably, they offerdifferent forms of protectionfor intellectual property.Trademark laws protectmaterial that is used todistinguish an individual’s orcorporation’s work fromanother entity. Thesematerials include words,phrases, or symbols—such aslogos, slogans, and brandnames—which copyright lawsdo not cover. Patents coverinventions for a limited periodof time. Patented materialsinclude products such asindustrial processes, machines,and chemical positions.Related TermsIntellectual PropertyIntellectual property is a setof intangibles owned andlegally protected by acompany from outside use orimplementation withoutconsent.moreHow Patents WorkA patent grants propertyrights to an inventor of aprocess, design, or inventionfor a set time in exchange fora comprehensive disclosure ofthe invention.moreBehind TrademarksA trademark is a recognizablesign, phrase, or symbol thatdenotes a product or serviceand legally differentiates itfrom all others of its kind.moreBiotechnologyIntellectual PropertyRights DefinitionIntellectual Property Rights(Biotechnology) givecompanies a way to protectexclusive use ofpharmaceuticals, brand namesand more.moreCopyrightInfringementCopyright infringement is theuse or production of copyrightprotected material without thepermission of the copyrightholder.moreHow Royalties WorkRoyalties are payments to anowner for using an asset orproperty, such as patents,copyrighted works, or naturalresources. Learn how royaltieswork.more