When technology startups, entrepreneurs, and other innovation firms invest in research and development (R&D), copyright registration of various works becomes an important due diligence step under intellectual property rights.
Copyright registration in the United States takes place in the United States Copyright Office, see www.copyright.gov. United States Copyright law is governed under Title 17 of the United States Code. The full scope of copyright law includes several sections as enumerated below:
Title 17 of the United States Code
Chapter 1: Subject Matter and Scope of Copyright
Chapter 2: Copyright Ownership and Transfer
Chapter 3: Duration of Copyright
Chapter 4: Copyright Notice, Deposit, and Registration
Chapter 5: Copyright Infringement and Remedies
Chapter 6: Importation and Exportation
Chapter 7: Copyright Office
Chapter 8: Proceedings by Copyright Royalty Judges
Chapter 9: Protection of Semiconductor Chip Products
Chapter 10: Digital Audio Recording Devices and Media
Chapter 11: Sound Recordings and Music Videos
Chapter 12: Copyright Protection and Management Systems
Chapter 13: Protection of Original Designs
Copyright Registration Subject Matter
Identifying Copyright subject matter is among the most important elements of copyright protection and copyright registration in the US Copyright Office. An experienced copyright attorney and software lawyer can help identify various works that are entitled to copyright registration in the United States. Under the law, copyright protection extends to all original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed.
Works of authorship for Copyright registration include the following categories:
(1) literary works;
(2) musical works, including any accompanying words;
(3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
(4) pantomimes and choreographic works;
(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
(6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
(7) sound recordings; and
(8) architectural works.
It is important to note the Copyright Act expressly prohibits copyright registration of ideas or any procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work. Entrepreneurs, technology startups, entertainment producers and other innovators typically develop a variety of original works, some of which may be entitled to copyright registration, and their various legal protection and due diligence strategies may depend on the product being produced, how it was created, timelines, licenses, and a variety of other legal and business factors.