Copyright Basics: Protection for Works of AuthorshipA Copyright is published or unpublished original work of authorship that is composed in a manner so that it may later be seen, heard, copied, reproduced, communicated, or transmitted. It is important to note that ideas themselves are not copyrightable. However, ideas may be protectable as a Trade Secret through state and federal statutes or in their capacity as a tangible expression. It is important to consult an attorney if you believe you have a copyrightable work of authorship or even if you are simply in the creation and idea process. Even in the early stages, copyright considerations such as original authorship, royalties, licensing, infringement, and protection generally are all important considerations that could dramatically impact a work of authorship in the future, as well as any derivative works.
Popular examples of copyrighted works may include a fiction novel from the current N.Y. Times Best Seller List, a top grossing movie in the current USA Box Office , or the song that is currently number one on the Billboard Top 100. Authors of these copyrighted works, under Title 17, Section 106, are granted specific, exclusive rights for a limited duration (time dependent on authorship and ownership) to their work including such rights as reproduction, distribution, performances, demonstrations, displays, preparation of derivative works, and transmission.
Statutory Requirements for a CopyrightTo be more technical, Title 17 (Copyright Act), Section 102 (Subject Matter) of the United States Code defines Copyrights, generally, as "original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." These works of authorship must then fall into, at least, one of 9 defined categories in order for your authored material to be copyrightable (computer databases have been added by amendment).
- Copyright Registration
- Copyright Infringement
- Copyright Assignment, Licensing, and Royalties
- Intellectual Property