Copyright – All You Need to Know

What Is Copyright?

Copyright refers to a type of legal protection that’s given to content creators and artists which provides legal ownership of the work. For example, if a person creates a work of art, a story, or a piece of software, a copyright provides legitimate ownership of the work. The creator of this art, content, software or story obtains all exclusive rights to the use and distribution of the work for a specific amount of time.

The nature of copyright has evolved during the internet era. There are different kinds of content now which have gained popularity through the internet. Likewise, the existing types of content have changed in form, as well as in their method of distribution.  Nevertheless, the general nature of copyright has remained true.

What Is Eligible for a Copyright?

Below are some of the following works that are eligible for a copyright:

  • Every literary work: These include Novels (learn about the rise of English novel), novellas, short stories, newspaper articles, poems, plays, blogs and reference materials
  • Artistic works: These include, drawings, paintings, sculptures and pictures.
  • Advertisements
  • Technical drawings
  • Architecture
  • Films
  • Television shows
  • Choreography
  • Podcasts
  • Musical Compositions
  • computer software
  • Concert and other live performances
  • Computer Hardware

According to the law, in order for any of these works to qualify for a copyright, they must possess “some minimal degree for creativity.”

What Is not Eligible for Copyright Claim?

Below are some major areas where someone can’t claim copyright status:

  • Ideas
  • Methods of Operation
  • Systems
  • Facts

Which Protection Does a Copyright Give?

Copyright is just like having ownership of something you’ve created. Whether you write a short story or compose a piece of music or take a picture, it’s your work. A copyright provides you with legal protection over that creation. Having copyright protection gives you the following rights:

  • Reproduce the Work: You can duplicate copies of the content you created. You may distribute your work the way you want or see fit.
  • You can decide to create other works based on the original work. For instance, you may want to integrate a series of blog posts into a book.
  • Exhibit the Work in Public: If you’re an artist, you want others to see your art or what you’ve done. Your statue, painting or any other piece of art you create is yours to show whenever and wherever you like.
  • Ability to Sell copies of your Work: You can earn profit from selling your copyrighted ideas by selling it.
  • Perform the Work in Public: When you write a book, a play, compose a piece of music or anything else you can exhibit in public, you have the right to do so. For instance, you have the right to play your own music at a concert.

As a content creator with a copyright, you hold all these rights for a period of time. Unless you legally give them up, you cannot lose them. You possess the rights to your works in the same way you own your car or house. Nobody else can any of these express permission.

How long Does a Copyright Last?

The date of the work determines the time limit for a copyright. In America, anything created after January 1, 1978, has a copyright for the life of the author plus 70 years. What this means is that, if a person dies tomorrow, he/she would have a copyright on their work for seventy years and one day. If a person dies thirty years from today, the person would have a copyright for exactly 100 years.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. For a person who creates work anonymously, such a person will have a copyright for 95 years from the publication of the date of the work. Alternatively, such a person will have copyright protection for 120 years after the date of the work’s creation.

Does a Person Have to Register a Copyright?

The answer is no. Once a person creates a work, the person automatically has a copyright. A person can decide to register their work at any point during the time-frame when their work is eligible for copyright. Still, the official registration allows the creator:

  • To possess a public record of their copyright claim
  • File an infringement lawsuit in the court of law
  • Obtain return of legal fees for copyright infringement claims

The following are the three steps of the Copyright registration process:

  • Fill out the application form
  • Pay the application fee
  • Pay a certain deposit for the legal copy of your work

What Is Copyright Infringement?

This refers to when a person breaks the rules of copyright by using someone’s work without their permission. This is a federal crime whether the person did so unknowingly or not. To avoid copyright infringement, make sure you do the following:

  • Only use someone’s work after getting permission to do some
  • Make sure you read the rules for usages if copyrighted works
  • Consult your lawyer when you are unclear about your options

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