Friday, April 06, 2007

Copyright infringement - What's New To Handle Stealing?

Copyright protection is a big, big news these days. It seems like as we browse the internet there is another piece touching it. Click on the tv and a popular actress or performer is supporting the importance of it. From Itunes and file sharing debates to film duplication, copyright is far and wide. In this story we will explore copyright and at a bare minimum, look at the reasons why creative people would copyright their work and list work types that can be copyrighted.

Copyright and what it is

Copyright is a set of exclusive rights regulating the use of a precise delivery of a concept or information. In its simplest form, it is just "the right to copy" an original creation. Most of the time, these rights are of restricted time. The symbol for copyright is , and in some countries may alternatively be printed as either (c) or (C).

What does it protect

Copyright may cover a variety of creative, scholarly, or artistic forms or "works". These include poems, theses, theatrical plays, and other literary works, movies, choreographic works (dances, ballets, etc.), musical compositions, audio recordings, paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, software, radio and television performances of live and other broadcasts, and, in some countries, industrial designs. Designs or industrial designs may have separated or overhanging laws applied to them in some jurisdictions. Copyright is one of the laws covered by the all encompassing term 'intellectual property'.

What is not protected by copyright

Copyright law covers only the individual form or manner in which ideas or information have been created, the "form of material expression". It is not designed or intended to cover the actual idea, concepts, facts, styles, or methods which may be suggested by the copyright work.

For example, the copyright for the Donald Duck cartoon prevents unapproved persons from distributing copies of the cartoon or making derivative works which mimic the Donald Duck cartoon.

But it does not prevent anyone from creating a cartoon duck. As long as it is different enough from Donald Duck. Other laws may require legal limits on production or use where copyright doesn't. That's when trademarks and patents can be applied.

Copyright duration

Copyright has a variety of time periods in different jurisdictions, with different categories of works and the length it endures also depends on whether your work is published or unpublished. In most areas the default length of copyright for many works is lifespan of the author plus 50 years. The copyright always expires at the end of the year concerned, rather than on the exact date of the death of the author.

Public domain and copyright

So when is a book is in the public domain? In the states, all books and other items published before 1923 have expired copyrights and are in the public domain, and all works created by the United states government, regardless of date, enter the public domain upon their creation.

But if the intended use of the book includes publication (or distribution of a film based on the book) outside the U.s., the arrangement of copyright around the world must be studied.

If the author has been deceased more than 70 years, the work is in the public domain in most regions.

Can you transfer your copyright

Under the United states Copyright Act, if you want to transfer ownership of your copyright it must be transferred in writing. No official transfer paperwork is required. A common written note that specifies the work involved and the rights being given is admissible.

Non-exclusive grants (often called non-exclusive licenses) need not be in writing under U.s. law. A non-exclusive grant is when you allow someone to utilize your work by giving them your acceptance. For example, you allow a writer to include a paragraph of your novel in his work. Your permission can be oral or even implied based on the behavior of all the individuals involved.

Transfers of copyright ownership, including exclusive licenses should be formally filed in the U.S. Copyright Office. While recording is not vital to make the grant effective, it offers important benefits, just like you would get from submitting a real estate deed when you buy a house.

File your copyright

You can download the paperwork yourself from the US Copyright Office at This is the cheapest option available, at the time of this writing the US Copyright Office frequently charges $30 per submission. You will need to settle on the right form for your work type, but the Copyright Office does a fairly good job of organizing their paperwork so users can find what they need. Browse through their online Help files for instructions on how to fill out the forms and what materials you will need to mail in. With a little exploration and work you can do it all yourself. If you need additional guidance there are a number of commercial websites that will assist.

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