The Congress shall have Power (US Const. art. I, sec. 8)
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries; (US Const. art. I, sec. 8)
Quite literally dealing with the “right to copy”, copyright law is Constitutional right codified into law in the 1976 Copyright Act. Copyright law is designed to promote the progress of arts and sciences by vesting exclusively in the copyright owner certain exploitation rights to original writings and discoveries, including the right to:
- reproduce (copy) the work into copies and phonorecords,
- create derivative works of the original work,
- distribute copies and phonorecords of the work to the public by sale, lease, or rental,
- perform the work publicly (if the work is a literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, pantomime, motion picture, or other audiovisual work),
- display the work publicly (if the work is a literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, pantomime, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, motion picture, or other audiovisual work),
- perform a sound recording by means of digital audio.
Copyright Subject Matter
Copyright law protects “original works of authorship” that are “fixed in a tangible form of expression”
Copyrightable works include the following categories:
- literary works
- musical works, including any accompanying words
- dramatic works, including any accompanying music
- pantomimes and choreographic works
- pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
- motion pictures and other audiovisual works
- sound recordings
- architectural works
- computer programs
L.A. TECH & MEDIA LAW FIRM represents publishers, authors, photographers, musicians, filmmakers, programmers, content creators and other innovators through the myriad of copyright and intellectual property laws that grant protection original works.
Our firm routinely negotiates and drafts legal contracts pertaining to copyright transfers, work-for-hire arrangements, exclusive license agreements, and other legal affairs and provides legal consultation on potential infringement actions, fair use defense, and related matters.
Legal Points of Interest About Copyright Law
Copyright protection does not require registration, but rather attaches at the moment an idea is fixed in a tangible medium of expression. However, copyright registration provides several advantages to its owners, including:
- Presumptive notice to potential infringers (innocent or willful) or the owner’s rights in the works
- Statutory damages for each infringement ranging from $750 – $150,000 per infringing copy
- Award of attorney’s fees if a successful infringement lawsuit is waged.
Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.
Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and
architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.
Copyright protects original works of authorship, while a patent protects inventions or discoveries. Ideas and discoveries are not protected by the copyright law, although the way in which they are expressed may be. A trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others.
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.
The original authorship appearing on a website may be protected by copyright. This includes writings, artwork, photographs, and other forms of authorship protected by copyright.
Copyright law does not protect domain names. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Na
mes and Numbers (ICANN), a nonprofit organization that has assumed the responsibility for domain name system management, administers the assignation of domain names through accredited registers. See also our LATML blog discussing in part protection of domain names under trademark law.
A mere listing of ingredients is not protected under copyright law. However, where a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a collection of recipes as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection. Note that if you have secret ingredients to a recipe that you do not wish to be revealed, you should NOT submit your recipe for registration, because applications and deposit copies are public records.
No. Names are not protected by copyright law. Some names may be protected under trademark law as a word mark, logo, or slogan.
Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. In some cases, these things may be protected as trademarks. However, copyright protection may be available for logo artwork that contains sufficient authorship. In some circumstances, an artistic logo may also be protected as a trademark.
Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something. You may express your ideas in writing or drawings and claim copyright in your description, but be aware that copyright will not protect the idea itself as revealed in your written or artistic work.
Publication is not necessary for copyright protection.
The transfer of copyright ownership is governed by the statute of frauds. This means that most conveyances and transfers must be in writing to be valid.