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Copyright and copyright protection FAQs
For answers to questions about copyright and copyright protection,
please select one of the links below:
What does copyright protect?
The Copyright Act of 1976 protects creative expression: literary,
dramatic, and musical works; pantomimes and dance; pictorial,
graphic and sculptural works; audio-visual works; sound recordings;
and architectural works. Essentially, any original "expression"
is eligible for copyright protection as soon as it is fixed in
a tangible form.
Read details about our copyright
services. Or call us at (866) 734-2568 or fill
out our contact form should you have
How do I get a copyright?
Almost any original expression that is fixed in a tangible form
is protected as soon as it is expressed. A tangible form includes
the electronic medium: a graphic file created in any graphics
editing software program is protected as soon as the file is saved
to disk. A web page is protected as soon as you stop typing and
save it as a .html file. As you can see, most of the items that
you are likely to encounter on the Internet are eligible for copyright
protection, including the text of web pages, contents of email
and Usenet messages, sound files, graphics files and so on.
What is "Copyright Notice"?
Although no longer necessary, notice on copyrighted material
avoids any uncertainty that it is copyrighted. The four elements
of Notice are the copyright symbol, the term "Copyright",
the year of copyright, the name of the copyright holder, and the
phrase "All Rights Reserved".
Copyright © 2005 David M. Adler, Esq.
All Rights Reserved
However, items like Ideas, Facts, Titles, Names, Short phrases,
and Blank forms are not eligible for copyright protection.
How long does copyright protection
Duration of the protection afforded by copyright depends in large
part on when the work in question was created. Whether the work
was created before or after January 1, 1978 could have substantial
affect on the life-span of the copyright.
If published before 1978, the copyright expires 75 years from
the date of publication (if the copyright was renewed). If published
after 1978, the copyright will expire on December 31, 2002. If
published between 1978 and the present and the copyright is owned
by an individual the copyright will last for the life of the author,
plus an additional 50 years. If published between 1978 and the
present and the copyright owned by employer of author, the copyright
will last 75 years from the date of publication, or 100 years
from the date of creation, whichever occurs first.
What material can I use on my web site?
Obviously one may use any original material one creates: graphics,
audio, text, or video. One may also license material to use on
web pages or in catalogs. If an item like a picture was created
by someone else and the copyright has not expired, then permission
must be sought for the right to use that item from the copyright
owner. Essentially, when one buys a clipart CD one is also buying
a license. A license will spell out how the image may be used,
how much it would cost to use the image, and any other conditions
One may also use works deemed in the "Public Domain".
The "Public Domain" contains all works that for whatever
reason are not protected by copyright. As such, they are free
for all to use without permission. Works in the Public Domain
include characteristics such as: a lost copyright, an expired
copyright, owned or authored by the federal government, specifically
granted to public domain, or just non-copyrightable.
Why should I register my copyright?
As described earlier, a work is copyrighted as soon
as it is created, but there are some advantages to registering
your work with the Copyright
Office. In order to sue for infringement of a work, with some
exceptions, a work must be registered with the Copyright Office.
However, one may register after the infringement occurs, as long
as it's before filing the lawsuit.
To register a copyright, file the appropriate form with the U.S.
Copyright Office, including the payment for registration costs
We look forward to the opportunity to discuss any questions you
may have regarding the range of business, technology and intellectual
property services we offer. Please feel free to call us at (866) 734-2568 should you have any questions.
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