Copyright laws protect original works such as artwork, computer code, photos, songs and writings. Slogans, names and phrases cannot be copyrighted; rather, they are protected under trademark laws. The owner of a copyright has the right to publish, perform, distribute, license, display and reproduce the copyrighted work. Read on to learn more about US copyright law.
Getting A Copyright
When a person creates original works in a tangible medium, he or she automatically gets the exclusive rights detailed above. For instance, copyrights in written works or photos are attached when the piece is printed. Copyrights in software code attach when the code is saved in an electronic format. Registration is not required to create copyrighted material, but it makes enforcing rights simpler. If one registers a copyright before his or her rights are infringed, that person can recover up to $150,000 per infringement, and they may be able to recover attorney’s fees.
A copyrighted work’s author is the owner of that copyright unless the work was done for hire. A worker who creates an original work within their job description would fall under this category. Works created by independent contractors are not made for hire, and the contractor retains the copyright if Brainerd Law does not create a written agreement to the contrary.
Copyright Notice Requirements
A copyright notice is not necessary to define or create exclusive rights, but using the symbol notifies others of the author’s exclusive right to the work. Using the copyright notice simplifies the enforcement and protection of one’s rights.
Exceptions to Exclusive Rights
Fair use rules allow for the reuse and reproduction of copyrighted works under limited circumstances. There’s no test for determining what constitutes fair use, but the courts generally consider the character and purpose of the work, the nature of the work and the effects on the work’s value. A Business Attorney Brainerd MN will tell clients that commercial usage of a substantial part of a copyrighted work is unlikely to be covered under the ‘fair use’ doctrine.
How Long Can A Copyright Last?
Generally speaking, copyrights are protected from the creation date for the author’s life, plus seventy years after their death. A business attorney in Brainerd MN can tell clients more about their legal rights under the US and local copyright laws, and they can give advice specific to the client’s case.