Title Image - Definition of Copyright

What are Copyright Laws? 

Copyright is a legal structure that protects unique authorship works, including a wide range of creative artistry that are eligible for protection. Thanks to the protection of specific creative works, authors, artists, and producers can freely develop without worrying about unauthorised reproduction or exploitation. Only the original creators or authorised parties are granted the exclusive right to reproduce by this intellectual property right. Copyright law gives creators the sole right to duplicate and use their original work for a set period. When copyrights are removed, the item is released into the public domain and can be used without restriction.

Filing for copyright in the US 

Copyright protection is essential for protecting the originality of a creative product, allowing for legal protection in cases of reproduction or exploitation. It does not grant the right to be the foremost producer but ensures that the law supports legal action against anyone or corporation infringing on the original work. 

Copyright Laws

Image Source: https://www.copyright.gov/

In the U.S, every registration is done with the U.S. Copyright Office, with a filing cost ranging from $45- $600, and this can be done physically or virtually if you are tech-savvy, during which some forms are given specifically for the creative artistry to be registered. Usually, to obtain a copyright for any original work, it does not have to be public, but it must have been produced and possess a tangible distributable form. Some of these are: 

  • Pictures
  • Paintings
  • Literary works
  • Performing arts
  • Musical Projects
  • Website content
  • Sound recordings
  • Motion pictures/Movies
  • Software and Database
  • Custom architectural designs

You can check this chapter in U.S. Copyright material to learn more about the materials that qualify for copyright according to the U.S. Copyright Office’s compendium of practices. 

Duration of copyright protection 

If the copyright is filed on or after the 1st of January, 1978, U.S. Copyright protection typically spans seventy years after the creator’s death. In the case of a re-registration, the person to whom the copyright title now belongs can apply for one. If that is not done, that creative product will be put in the public domain where anyone can access it. This also applies to a work done by partners who were not on a hire. 

The length of copyright for works that are created for hire, as well as anonymous or pseudonymous works, is 120 years from production or 95 years from their initial release.

About Copyright Laws & Infringement 

Copyright infringement happens when an individual or corporation violates the copyright of an original creator by exercising exclusive rights belonging to an original creator of a work without getting approval to do so. This will usually involve reproduction, distribution, and, in some cases, even profiting from creative artistry or any work done by an original creator. 

In the usual sense, a copyright violation is usually more substantial against the defendant when an individual or corporation profits from such an act. A defendant will also have a stronger case when the violation was unintentional and no profit was in view. 

Below are a few examples of copyright infringements:

  • Recording a movie in a theatre.
  • Downloading songs and movies illegally. 
  • Using a copyrighted song in a YouTube video.
  • Reproducing and distributing a movie you do not own. 
  • Reproducing a song without any significant modification.
  • Uploading a movie that does not belong to you in the public domain.

What to do in the case of Infringement

Suppose you discover that your work has been used without attribution or permission. In that case, you can go to court with proof that the work initially belonged to you– the paper from the U.S. copyright office showing that the registration was done and that the work belongs to you. 

After this, they must also provide substantial proof that the defendant used their work against the copyright laws. A plaintiff is not necessarily filing a case because they have suffered a loss or financial impact because of the copyright infringement but because they want to enforce their right over the creation through copyright laws like the right of attribution or integrity so that even in distribution by another creator, they can still maintain the integrity of ownership.