Copyright

“The Congress shall have the power 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.”  U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8

More than 200 years ago, the Framers of the United States Constitution sought to protect the expression of ideas to “promote the progress of science and useful arts.”  In today’s technologically advanced world, the genius and foresight of the Framers continues to offer protection to works of Creative expression in the form of the Copyright Act of 1976.  As amended, the 1976 Act protects works of authorship, including:

  • 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

Authors of these works enjoy the following exclusive rights, with some limitations: 

  • To reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords
  • To prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted works
  • To distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending
  • In the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly
  • In the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission

While copyright protection exists at the time a work is created, it is important to note that full enjoyment of the rights afforded by the Copyright Act of 1976 is dependent upon registration of the copyright claim with the U.S. Copyright Office.  Such registration constitutes prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright in judicial proceedings instituted before or within five years after first publication of the work.  Registration is also a prerequisite to filing an infringement action for the exclusive rights listed above, as well as for the award of statutory damages or attorney’s fees.

We can assist you with your copyright needs and to ensure that your works of authorship are fully protected under the law.

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