Find Comprehensive Information for US and International Copyright Law
Fair use refers to the public’s right to freely use certain copyrighted material without fear of reprisal. The factors used to define “fair use” are specified in copyright law, although their interpretation is very subjective. Generally speaking, fair use allows individuals to reproduce copyrighted material only for narrow and specific purposes which include criticizing or critiquing; commentary and news reporting; research and scholarship; nonprofit educational uses; and ridiculing or satirizing as in a parody of a copyrighted work.
In addition, there exists another exception, in “work for hire” product. This refers to original work created by an individual working for another entity and therefore this individual’s work product actually belongs to the entity that hired the worker and that entity would then own the copyright, instead of the individual who actually created the work product.
The first Copyright Act was enacted under the Constitution to protect the “writings” of authors. But over time copyright protection has expanded to include other types of creative, original works represented in tangible formats other than writing. Types of work product protected by copyright law include, but are not limited to the following: literary works, such as books, manuscripts, magazines, articles, and poetry; dramatic works like plays with any accompanying music, movie scripts, screenplays, written or recorded pantomime performance art and choreography; musical works like songs, music, lyrics, compositions, musical scores, and sound recordings; visual artistic works like maps, drawings, sketches, paintings, photographs, sculpture, art reproductions and films; audiovisual work like motion pictures, television shows and cartoons; architectural work like designs, technical drawings and blueprints; and computer software programs.
To qualify for copyright protection the work must have been represented at one time in some sort of tangible form, although not indefinitely. Additionally, it does not have to be unique or inventive, and can even resemble other works already in existence, but it must be original work that was not copied directly from any other source, and created independently by the author. Lastly, some measure of creative effort must have been expended to create the work. For example, someone’s grocery list where the items are simply listed with no embellishments displays no creative effort at all and would not be copyright protected.
Any eligible work does not have to be published to fall under copyright protection. As soon as the original work has been rendered in some sort of tangible form, it qualifies. Many categories of material that are not eligible for copyright protection may instead be suitable for protection under trademark, trade secret or patent laws. However, works composed completely out of material that has become part of the “public domain” is considered common or community property; it has no original creation and is not suitable for any type of protection. These include things like weight charts, height charts, standardized calendars, various photographs, magazine articles, works produced by the U.S. government and the like. Additionally, all works published in the U.S. before 1923 are now considered public domain.
The emergence and saturation of internet use throughout the world has had a distinct effect on copyright law. Time and again copyright protection has been afforded to internet content. Digital Rights Management (DRM) is at the forefront of this new frontier. DRM refers to the diverse aggressive measures instituted to control internet content by assorted means, including locking access via new markup language, encryption features, and plug-ins; use of an informal honor system where entities, such as the Copyright Clearance Center, provide permissions and payments; and good old-fashioned prosecution. Additionally, the Copyright Office has developed the “Copyright Office Electronic Registration, Recordation and Deposit System” (CORDS), a system fashioned to electronically register copyrights online and currently instituted by the electronic copyright office (eCO).
U.S. copyright law is almost solely created and regulated by the federal government. The agency mainly responsible for this is the federal Copyright Office of the Library of Congress. Copyright protection and the applicable governing laws differ according to the time that the work was created. For specifics, see links to Copyright Acts below. Most copyrights are recognized and honored internationally in many, but not all countries via international copyright treaties and conventions. Visit Us at Google+ Copyright HG.org
Copyright Law - US
- ABA - Intellectual Property Law Section - Copyrights
The ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law is the largest intellectual property organization in the world and the oldest substantive Section of the ABA. Since 1894, we have advanced the development and improvement of intellectual property laws and their fair and just administration.
- Copyright Act
The U.S. Copyright Act is found in Title 17 of the U.S. Code and contains the federal statutes governing copyright law in the United States. This index contains links to each of the sections of the Copyright Act found in Title 17. The version of the Copyright Act found in BitLaw was updated in November 2005.
- Copyright Law - Definition
Copyright is the set of exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. These rights can be licensed, transferred and/or assigned. Copyright lasts for a certain time period after which the work is said to enter the public domain. Copyright applies to a wide range of works that are substantive and fixed in a medium. Some jurisdictions also recognize "moral rights" of the creator of a work, such as the right to be credited for the work.
- United States Copyright Law
Copyright law in the U.S. is governed by federal statute, namely the Copyright Act of 1976. The Copyright Act prevents the unauthorized copying of a work of authorship.
- United States Copyright Office
The Copyright Office is an office of record, a place where claims to copyright are registered and where documents relating to copyright may be recorded when the requirements of the copyright law are met. The Copyright Office furnishes information about the provisions of the copyright law and the procedures for making a registration or recordation, explains the operations and practices of the Copyright Office, and reports on facts found in the public records of the Office. The Office also administers the mandatory deposit provisions of the copyright law and the various compulsory licensing provisions of the law, which include collecting royalties.
Copyright Law - International
- Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
The Berne Convention requires its signatories to recognize the copyright of works of authors from other signatory countries (known as members of the Berne Union) in the same way as it recognises the copyright of its own nationals. For example, French copyright law applies to anything published or performed in France, regardless of where it was originally created.
- EU Copyright and Neighbouring Rights
Copyright and related rights provide an incentive for the creation of and investment in new works and other protected matter (music, films, print media, software, performances, broadcasts, etc.) and their exploitation, thereby contributing to improved competitiveness, employment and innovation. The field of copyright is associated with important cultural, social and technological aspects, all of which have to be taken into account in formulating policy in this field.
- International Copyright Law
Creators and users of copyrighted works should be aware of the differences in intellectual property law between nations. Many works are now distributed internationally or use components from authors in other nations. No international copyright law exists that will protect a work in every country of the world. However, several key international treaties that the US has signed protects works from and within member nations.
- WIPO Copyright Treaty
The World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty, abbreviated as the WIPO Copyright Treaty, is an international treaty on copyright law adopted by the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1996. It provides additional protections for copyright deemed necessary due to advances in information technology since the formation of previous copyright treaties before it. There have been a variety of criticisms of this treaty, including that it is overbroad (for example in its prohibition of circumvention of technical protection measures, even where such circumvention is used in the pursuit of legal and fair use rights) and that it applies a 'one size fits all' standard to all signatory countries despite widely differing stages of economic development and knowledge industry.
Organizations Related to Copyright Law
- Association for the Protection of Internet Copyright (APIC)
APIC Worldwide is dedicated to the continued education of Internet copyright law and enforcement of such law through the co-operation of international, domestic, federal, state, and local statutes, laws, and ordinances.
CopyNight is a monthly social gathering of people interested in restoring balance in copyright law. We meet over drinks once a month in many cities to discuss new developments and build social ties between artists, engineers, filmmakers, academics, lawyers, and many others.
- Copyright Society of the USA (CSUSA)
The Copyright Society of the USA (CSUSA) is dedicated to advancing the study of copyright law and related rights in literature, music, art, theater, motion pictures, television, computer software, architecture, and other works of authorship, distributed via both traditional and new media.
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system, which rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest.
Publications Related to Copyright Law
- Research Copyright
Use Research Copyright .com to learn all about copyrights, patents, trademarks, and intellectual property. Learn how to copyright your own works, whether you are a writer, artist, musician, filmmaker, or other creative person. Learn about copyright infringement and how to search for copyrights to obey U.S. Copyright Laws.
Articles on HG.org Related to Copyright Law
- U.S. Copyright Office Takes on Mass DigitizationThe U.S. Copyright Office recently published a report that addresses one of the most controversial areas of copyright law right now—the mass digitization of books. According to the agency, the report is intended to facilitate further discussions among the affected parties and the public regarding possible approaches to the issue, including voluntary initiatives, legislative options, or both.
- Live Streaming Possible up to a Certain Limit, Rules ECJ - GermanyThe ECJ has ruled that the spreading of television programs via live streaming without the creator’s consent shall not be possible.
- Update: Twitter Finally Lands Coveted “Tweet” TrademarkJames Eliason, CEO of Twittad, indicated that Twitter’s battle for ownership of the “tweet” trademark may finally have come to an end. According to Eliason, Twitter would drop a trademark lawsuit it filed against his company that sought to nullify Twittad’s registered trademark of the word “tweet.” In return, Twittad would transfer its registered trademark of “tweet” to Twitter, he said.
- Trademark FAQ: Does a Trademark Last Indefinitely?A trademark can last indefinitely, but it will require some action of the part of its holder. In general, you must file the appropriate maintenance filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and adopt certain business practices in order to keep your trademark alive.
- Should China Overhaul Its Patent System?A European business group is calling on China to make big changes to its patent system. The European Chamber of Commerce in China argues that the current Chinese patent system hinders the country's ability to innovate and may be detrimental to foreign companies. The group released a report recommending a total of 52 changes.
- The Obama Administration Wants Your Input on IP PolicyThe Obama Administration is working to develop a new strategy for intellectual property enforcement and is asking for the public’s help.
- Is the USPTO Trying to Phase Out Paper Trademark Applications?The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office allow trademark applicants to conduct much of their business electronically through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). Trademark applicants can file an initial application form online, as well as submit other documents including a response to an examining attorney's Office action, a change of address, an allegation of use, and post registration maintenance documents.
- Is the U.S. Copyright Office Changing Its Stance on Jailbreaking?Every three years, the U.S. Copyright Office reconsiders exclusions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s provisions prohibiting the circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works.
- Patent FAQ: Can I Protect My Intellectual Property Overseas?Unfortunately, the rights granted by a U.S. patent or trademark can only be enforced in the United States and generally have no effect in a foreign country. Therefore, a company who wants to safeguard its intellectual property rights in other countries must take additional steps to ensure international protection.
- April Marks Important Milestone for Patent LawThe U.S. patent and Trademark Office celebrated an important milestone earlier this month. April 10 marked the anniversary of the first U.S. patent law, which was enacted on April 10, 1790.
- All Intellectual Property Law Articles
Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Intellectual Property including: copyright, domain names, licensing law, patents, trade secrets and trademark.