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Copyright Services


WHAT IS A COPYRIGHT?

"It protects works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed."


Quick Overview

WRITERS, WEBMASTERS, MUSICIANS, ARTISTS – BEWARE OF PIRATES and COPYRIGHT TODAY! IT’S YOUR WORK, WHY NOT PROTECT IT?
Copyright protects “original works of authorship” that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. Copyrightable works include literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the particular way these things are expressed.

Generally, the U.S. Copyright Act gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:
  • To reproduce the work.
  • To prepare derivative works based upon the work.
  • To distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending.
  • To perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works.
  • To display the 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; and
  • In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.
Copyright law provides several advantages to encourage copyright owners to make a registration. Among these advantages are the following:
  1. Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.

  2. Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin.

  3. If registration is made prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.

  4. If made before or within 5 years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.

  5. Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U.S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies.