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10 Copyright Laws You Have To Know

10 Copyright Laws You Have To Know


Copyrighting creative works is a legal process that is subject to specific laws and regulations. Understanding how copyright laws affect the author, the work, and those seeking to use the creative work is important, for violating such statutes can incur penalties by law. Though there are various kinds of copyright laws that are in place, oftentimes varying from country to country, the following are ten copyright laws that are important to know in the United States:


It is important to know exactly what a copyright is in order to understand how it is to be used or applied in a legal setting. Copyright laws in the United States state that copyrights are legally exclusive rights that are granted to the author or creator of a creative work. Among these rights are the rights to copy, distribute, adapt, and amend the work. The right to copy, under copyright laws, is often applied in terms of the right to control the copying of copyrighted works, which means it prevents others from copying the work without permission. If you need legal advice and assistance, contact copyright lawyers.


In seeking the protection of certain exclusive rights by law, it is important to know what kind of original works are eligible to be copyrighted. Among the types of works are:

        Literary works and books

        Maps and charts


        Musical compositions and lyrics

        Dramatic works and choreography

        Photographs, paintings, drawings, and sculptures

        Motion pictures and audiovisual works

        Computer software and programs

        Architectural works

        Sound recordings


Copyright laws will usually impose a certain limitation in regards to copyright protection limits in terms of time. Though the periods of time will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, copyright laws enforce copyright terms in almost all countries. In the United Sates, all works created after January 1st, 1978 have a protection period that is in place for the life of the author, creator, or owner of copyright, plus an additional 70 years after the date of such individual’s death. Anonymous works have a copyright term of 95 years from the date of its first publication, or 120 years from the year it was created, based on which is first to expire. Works copyrighted to 1978 are subject to different considerations, and thus, it is important to consult applicable provisions in the Copyright Act. 


In the United States, the First Sale Doctrine is a copyright law that relates to the copying of copyrighted works. This legislation allows for the owner or creator of a copyrighted work to resell copies of copyrighted works that were obtained by legal means. Therefore, the author of a copyrighted book can resell copies of that book in the United States.


The Fair Use Doctrine was established in the Copyright Act of 1976 and relates to the allowed copying of copyrighted works in accordance with copyright laws. There are certain situations in which a copyrighted work can be copied without the proper authorization of the creator or owner. Though it is not explicitly stated in the copyright laws, four factors are considered as fair use:

The purpose for copying the work and overall intended use of the work

The nature or material content of the copyrighted work

How much of the copyrighted work is to be copied

How copying such work can impact the market value of the copyrighted work.


Quite possibly the most important among copyright laws, copyright infringement refers to the unauthorized use of copyrighted works. The unauthorized use of copyrighted works is done in such a way that it violates copyright laws and the exclusive rights of the creator or owner as granted by law. In modern applications, this would include the piracy of CDs, DVDs, and similar media in regards to music and audiovisual works.  


In copyright laws, works that are considered to be in the public domain are not protected by copyright. To be in the public domain means that the works can be used, copied, and distributed without any particular authorization from the copyright holder. This situation occurs when a copyright term expires or the rights themselves have been forfeited. Examples include William Shakespeare's works and Isaac Newton's physics formulas.


Established in 1886, it was a Convention created for the protection of copyrights on the international level. Various countries are members to the Convention, which employs the principle of "national treatment." National Treatment means that a country will recognize the copyrights given to citizens of another nation as if such works were copyrighted within that particular country. 


An important facet of copyright laws that places a distinction of copyright protection from the expression of a particular idea versus the actual idea itself. Copyright laws grant protection solely to the expression of ideas, not necessarily the fundamentals of the idea itself.


Copyright laws in the United States do not require that creative works to be registered in order to have copyright protection. Even though it is highly recommended to register all creative works, copyright laws grant protection to creative works upon their inception or creation. A Poor Man's Copyright is an alternative to registering a copyright and provides for a legal document establishing the creation of a created work as the sole property of the author or creator. 


3 Steps to Find & Use Copyright Free Images

3 Steps to Find & Use Copyright Free Images

Using images as part of a business venture, such as a website, can certainly increase the viability for success of the project. Using copyright-free images is a great way to enhance a particular business opportunity or establishment. The use of copyright-free images is commonly done on the internet, though they can also be used in a variety of different contexts. 
Finding a copyright-free image will take time, though there are databases online that provide for copyright-free images. Certain things to consider when searching for a copyright-free image may include:
A copyright-free image is one that is provided by the photographer to be used by any person. However, the owner of the picture or photographer may still own a copyright on a particular photo or image, but simply has provided authorization for the image to be used by others. 
This usually does not allow those using the copyright-free image to sell to another party. Right-protected images are images that are purchased and used for specified period of time. These can be purchased through the photographer directly or through another source, such as the internet. Royalty-free images are also purchased, though only incur a one-time fee and the image can be used in any particular way.
Having a concrete idea as to a particular image is sure to make searching for copyright-free images a simpler undertaking. There thousands of copyright-free images available for use, and thus, having at least an idea of a particular type of image can help shorten the amount of time of the search. Furthermore, having an idea as to how the copyright-free image is to be used can also provide for a more specific focus when searching, while also providing the ability to explore other options as well.
The internet will probably be the most effective way to begin a search for a copyright-free image. Any image or picture that is taken by the Government or those that are considered to be in the public domain are considered to be copyright-free images and can be used freely by anyone. Therefore, conducting a search for these types of images may be a great place to start. 
There are also databases available online that dedicate themselves to provide for copyright-free images. These websites may require that the user register, though the actual service is free. These types of databases may often include certain rights with each particular type of copyright-free image that is imposed by the photographer or copyright owner. It is important to read such rights carefully to make sure that the intended use does not to violate any copyright right infringement laws.
Some photographers or copyright holders may also require that proper permission be asked. However, many simply will require that notification that a particular copyright-free image is being used. It is often recommended to write a letter or message to the photographer or copyright owner in order to establish how one intends to use the copyright-free images and where they are to be published.

5 Things To Do Before Approaching a Copyright Lawyer

5 Things To Do Before Approaching a Copyright Lawyer

The copyrighting process will sometimes prove to be overwhelming and confusing to many. It is not every day that a person seeks to copyright a particular creative work, and thus, are unfamiliar with not only the registration process, but also the applicable copyright laws and statutes.
Many will seek the legal knowledge and experience of copyright lawyers to help them get their creative works registered with the United States Copyright Office. Even though a copyright lawyer will prove to be efficient in helping clients copyright their works, there are certain things that potential clients should do before approaching a copyright lawyer for his/her services. The following is a list of five things to do before approaching copyright lawyers: 
It is important for people to at least be aware of some of the basic in regards to copyright protection and the copyright registration process. Not only will this prove to save time, but it will also make the lines of communications with the copyright lawyer stronger and clearer. 
A copyright lawyer will be able to explain more complex legal issues, such as fair use and copyright infringement, but the potential client should have at least some knowledge of some of these concepts. Being informed, even at a minimum, can also prove to protect the potential client further, simply on the basis that he/she is more aware of the legal process in regards to the copyrighting of his/her works. 
A copyright lawyer will sometimes not be as knowledgeable in the overall nature of a particular creative work. It is important for potential clients to not only have their creative works available, but to also be able to explain the nature of their work. This will help determine if there are already similar works with copyright protection. 
A copyright lawyer that is familiar with his/her client's work will be able to assess the possibility of copyrighting the work with more accuracy. On the other hand, there are also copyright lawyers that will specialize in copyrighting specific works, such as films or motion pictures, music, or literature and books. These copyright lawyers will prove to not only be competent and experienced, but also provide for more insight in regards to the work itself as it applies to the copyrighting procedure. 
Copyright lawyers will often need copies of the final product or creative work in order to begin the copyrighting process. Having multiple copies of the original work will allow for a copyright lawyer to properly determine the ability to copyright such work. Furthermore, the copyright registration process will require copies of the original works to be included with the application for registration as well. Having these copies readily available can save time and avoid complications during the procedure. 
In many situations, a particular original work may have more than one author or various individuals involved in the actual creation of the work. This will prove to be true the case specifically with music and film. In the case that a band or various songwriters are involved in creating a song or album, it is important for all members or parties to be informed of the copyrighting procedure. 
Furthermore, they may also need to be involved more directly with the actual registration process as well. Therefore, it is crucial to have all those involved informed, involved, and prepared to participate or assist in the actual copyright process.
Though it may prove true that a copyright lawyer will have much more experience and knowledge in regards to copyrights, it is important to know how successful copyright lawyers are in providing their services, and ultimately, completing the copyright process. 
Asking for reference from copyright lawyers is important to be aware as to how competent they are. Furthermore, the copyright lawyer that is hired should be one that the client trusts. Open communication and an overall approachable personality are key in establishing a successful relationship between the client and copyright lawyer.

5 Steps To Copyright a Book

5 Steps To Copyright a Book

It is not uncommon for people to undertake the venture of creating written material for the purpose of publishing. For those interested in having their material published, it is strongly recommended that they copyright written material in order to protect their work. To copyright a book or written material is also an option even for those that write on a recreational basis and do not necessarily intend to have their works published.
Copyrighting written material is important in order to prevent others from taking the idea and entering it into publications and not only receiving all credit, but reaping any inherent financial benefits as well. The following are five steps to copyright a book or written material. 
1. RESEARCH THE MAIN IDEA OF THE BOOK OR WRITTEN MATERIAL – Even though the written material may prove to be original in the sense that the writer is the sole creator of it, the general idea that is the core of the book may in fact already be protected by copyright. Before undertaking the procedure to copyright written material, it will prove worth the effort to make sure that similar subject matter or ideas are not already copyrighted in order to avoid possible legal troubles. 
Copyrights are intended to only protect material in terms of the expression of an idea or concept, not the actual idea itself. This is known as Idea-Expression Divide and is a doctrine used in copyright laws in the United States. An example would be a mystery novel. To copyright a book in this genre means that the author is seeking to copyright the expression of the genre, such as the plot or story, characters, or even included artwork. However, the mystery genre itself is not the item being copyrighted. 
2. MAKE COPIES OF THE BOOK OR WRITTEN MATERIAL – Upon having finished several drafts of the book or written material and a final draft has been completed, it is important to make copies of the final version. All original drafts should also be kept together as well. However, copies should be made of the final version, which should be the one that is intended to be copyrighted. To copyright a book or written material will require that copies be sent to the United States Copyright Office during the copyright registration process. However, even though it is necessary for copyright registration, copies should be made for the purpose of having more proof of the original work. 
3. VISIT THE UNITED STATES COPYRIGHT OFFICE WEBSITE – Visiting the Copyright Office website is important in order to have all of the necessary information that is required to copyright a book or written material. The website will not only explain the rights granted through copyright and proper registration, but will also outline the registration procedure. To copyright written material may be complex in some cases and will take time to complete. It is important to know all of the requirements of the registration process in order to be properly prepared. 
4. OBTAIN AND FILL OUT THE COPYRIGHT APPLICATION FORMS – To copyright a book will require that certain kinds of information be included in the application for the copyright registration process. Furthermore, depending on the method of registration, it may also require a medium-specific form. This is the case with the Paper Form for copyright registration, which requires that Form TX be used. However, if applying electronically, either through the eCO Application or the CO Fill-in Form, it may only require that it be specified on the application what kind of creative work is being registered. 
The application forms will have specific directions and require information such as the title of the work, year of completion, publication date (if applicable, otherwise, it may refer to the date the work was actually created), and author, applicant, or claimant information.
5. SUBMIT APPLICATIONS AND COPIES OF WRITTEN MATERIAL AND WAIT FOR APPROVAL – Upon filing the applications along with the required copies of the book or written material and paying the required fees, all that is left is to wait for notification from the Copyright Office. If the registration is approved, a certificate of copyright will be received in the mail. 
However, during the waiting period, a person may decide to publish their work. Since copyright protection is not official at the time, it is recommended that the works be marked as "copyright pending" so as to give notice to those using the works that the registration process is in the works. 

5 Easy Steps To Get a Copyright Symbol

5 Easy Steps To Get a Copyright Symbol

In order to use copyright symbols as prescribed by law, a work must be appropriately registered with the United States Copyright Office. Obtaining and using a copyright symbol means that a particular created work is registered with the United States Copyright Office, and thus, to obtain the right to use the symbol entails registering such works. To have the right to use copyright symbols, there are five general steps that can be followed:

The registration process begins by procuring the appropriate copyright form. There are different types of copyright application forms that apply to different types of creative works that are eligible for copyright. For basic registration of copyrights, the following forms should be used:
   Form TX: Literary works
   Form PA: Performing arts
   Form SR: Sound Recordings
   Form SE: Single Serials
   Form VA: Visual arts works

Filling out the application form will be the next step. The form itself can be filled out online by using the Copyright Right Office’s eCO Service, which is the preferred method. However, there is also a form available online that can be filled out on the computer and then mailed in. Another option will be using the paper forms, which will entail filling out the appropriate paperwork in accordance with the creative work at hand. Information on the application form will require:
   Title of the work
   Year of completion
   Publication date
   Applicant, Author, Claimant
   Mailing Address of applicant/author/claimant
   Information regarding previous registration of the work (if applicable)
   Information about the work in context of compilation or derivative work

The fees associated with the registration process to legally and properly use a copyright symbol on a creative work will depend on the method of filing. Online registration with the eCO is preferred and also allows for faster processing time. The next best option is using the Fill-in Form CO, which is to be completed on the computer, printed out, and mailed in. Barcode technology on this form also helps speed up the registration process. Lastly, paper forms are the other option available. The fees for each method of registration are as follows:
   ECO Application: $35
   CO Fill-in Form: $50
   Paper Form: $65

Processing for copyright applications will vary depending on the overall amount of applications received by the Copyright Office and the method that a person chooses to file for permission to use copyright symbols and copyright registration. Online filing often takes about six months to process, while the Form CO and Paper Forms can take up to 26 months to process.

Upon receiving the certificate of copyright from the Copyright Office, the applicant or owner of the creative works can now use the copyright symbols on such works to denote that particular work to give notice that the work is protected by copyright. The copyright symbol, “©,” is to be followed by the year of the first publication of the work and the name of the author, creator, or owner of the copyright.

How Do You Renew A Copyright?

How Do You Renew A Copyright?

The expiration of copyright protection under the U.S. intellectual property infrastructure will occur, in the case of works first registered after January 1, 1978, 70 years following the death of the person initially responsible for creating and registering the work as such. For works which were published anonymously, the expired copyright will go into effect either 95 years after the item was first published or 120 years after it was created, with this choice dependent on whichever term lasts for a longer time. 
If a work was published before this new “expiration of copyright” law went into effect for the U.S., then a renewal may be applied for following a 28 year period. In particular, the expiration of copyright after a 28-year period will be avoided for works published in the January 1, 1964-December 31, 1977 period by the automatic registration provided for such works, but registration can offer some advantages.

What Are the Pirating Ramifications

What Are the Pirating Ramifications

Pirating copyrighted materials over the Internet, either as the provider or a recipient of a particular item, opens the doorway to legal charges being filed against the individuals who are suspected or found to be directly responsible for the copyright infringement. As such, in the U.S., piracy falls under the general coverage for intellectual property protection law enacted in the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 8. 
This Section, the Copyright Clause, empowers Congress to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts” by protecting “for limited Times” the rights of authors to control and profit from their works. As such, digitally pirating copyrighted works can result in both civil and criminal penalties to any person found to be responsible. 
Piracy may also come under the coverage of additional legal prohibitions and enforcement measures enacted according to internationally-based agreements with other nations as well as internationally-based decision-making bodies.
Copyright Laws contains more information on U.S. intellectual property protection laws and the penalties which may be incurred by breaking them.

Guide to Copyright Searches

Guide to Copyright Searches

What is a Copyright Search?
A copyright is a set of exclusive rights, which provide legal protection to an author, artist or creator of a unique work. 
A copyright is a form of intellectual property protection that ensures the original creator protection against unfair duplication, alteration or distribution for any purpose.
The specific laws attached to a copyright will fluctuate based on jurisdiction; however, all copyrights are generally acknowledged through a universal lens in regards to the copyright’s establishment and protection capabilities. 
In the majority of situations, a copyright for a work of art is established from the moment the work is created, although many artists affirm their creation by registering their works with a private agency or governing body. This action will concretely establish a copyright protection.
Before an individual tangibly creates a work of art—whether it be a painting, a poem, a musical recording or a sculpture—he or she must perform a copyright search to ensure that the intended work has not already been copyrighted or created. The difficulty attached to executing the copyright search will depend on location; copyright laws will fluctuate based on jurisdiction. In a general sense; however, an individual may perform a copyright search by contacting the particular office or governmental agency that is involved with copyright registration for their given location.
In essence, the copyright search is enacted by initiating an online search of a government’s copyright database; when initiated, by entering details regarding the intended work, the agency will electronically sort and sift through hundreds of thousands of copyrighted works to reveal any similarities with the proposed work. If the intended work matches something previously copyrighted or registered, the individual engaging in the copyright search will have to alter or scrap the idea.
How do I Perform a Copyright Search?
In the United States, an individual can perform a copyright search by visiting the United States Copyright Office’s website and conducting an expedited catalog search. Similar to searches on Google or other popular search engines, the United States Copyright Office will utilize algorithms to match keywords associated with the work to reveal any previous copyrights.
If you wish to perform a copyright search to determine if your work of art has been previously registered, you should begin at the website for your particular country’s copyright office or agency.As stated above, in the United States, the US Copyright Office’s website will provide a simple search function that will allow you to conduct a copyright search in an expedited manner. 
You can perform the copyright search by entering the name of the artwork, a particular company or artist associated with the work, a registration number for a copyright or various keywords related to the work.
Step by Step Guide to Performing a Copyright Search in the United States:
In the United States, the first step to performing a copyright search is to visiting the Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov. When you reach the site, click on the “Search Records” tab at the top right of the navigation menu bar. Next, click on the “Search the Catalog” button under the “Online Records” section on the left side of the screen. 
When you reach the catalog type a name into the search field or select another option to search by “Registration Number,” “Document Number,” “Keyword,” or “Command keyword. Repeat these searches until you are sufficient with your copyright search.

What are the Legal Consequences Of Plagiarism

What are the Legal Consequences Of Plagiarism

Individuals caught plagiarizing can face serious consequences. Individuals caught plagiarizing in school may be expelled. In addition, individuals caught plagiarizing at work may be fired and have a difficult time securing future employment. 
There are also copyright laws which protect the original work of authors. If individuals are caught using that original work and claiming it as their own, they are guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism can include prosecution under copyright laws, which often include an attempt at a monetary award based on damages. 
The individual may also have to make pay to make up for lost profits when the owner of the work has lost income or is unable to use their work any longer.
In some cases, plagiarism can include criminal prosecution. The individual may face fines, jail time and community service, in addition to a civil case. 

Uncover the Copyright Laws For Motion Pictures

Uncover the Copyright Laws For Motion Pictures

Copyright laws protect the intellectual property of writers and creators of movies and other artistic works. Copyright laws related to motion pictures include the sale, distribution, or copying of movies without the permission of the owner of the copyright. Those copyright laws related to motion pictures include using even a portion of the film in a montage or the use of the film as a whole. 
When an individual views a movie at the theater, the theater has the express permission to charge individuals admission fees to view that film. The same laws apply to video rental stores, which allow individuals to rent a movie to view it in their home. However, individuals may not rent a movie to show it for a profit, according to the copyright laws related to motion pictures.