The Copyright Act is designed to protect the rights of authors in their creative
works and thereby encourage progress in arts and sciences.
A copyright protects "expression". An abstract idea becomes an "expression"
when it is "fixed in a tangible medium" and is then referred to as
Examples of copyrightable works are books, manuscripts, notes,
screenplays, manuals, maps, charts, paintings, sculpture, choreography,
technical drawings, architectural
musical and other sound recordings, motions pictures including videography and
What about works made for hire?
Michelangelo was first a sculptor
and took up painting with some reluctance. Many argue that there has
never been a more literally awesome artist than Michelangelo -
awesome in the depth of his imagination and his belief in the
spiritual significance of beauty. Beauty was to him divine, one of
the ways God communicated Himself to humanity.
Today, no copyright protection extends to any
original Michelangelo work. Click here to learn about the
duration of a copyright.
THE BENEFITS OF COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION
In general, copyright registration is a legal formality intended to
make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright.
However, registration is not a condition of copyright protection. Even
though registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright
law provides several advantages to encourage copyright owners to make
registration. Among these advantages are the following:
- Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.
- Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is
necessary for works of U.S. origin.
- If made before or within 5 years of publication, registration will
establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the
copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.
- If registration is made within 3 months after publication of the
work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and
attorney's fees will be available to the copyright owner in court
actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits may be
available to the copyright owner.
- Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the
registration with the U. S. Customs Service for protection against the
importation of infringing copies.
FOREIGN TREATIES MAY EXPAND RIGHTS INTO OTHER
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