Copyright Law

In United States the Copyright Act enforces the legal rights of creative and artistic works. Copyright Law in United States is a federal law and authorized by the US Constitutions. In US, US copyrights office takes care of registration, transfer and other administrative part of copyrights. The first law pertaining to copyright was enacted in 1770 by the US congress called the copyright Act of 1770. Since then the law has undergone series of changes to meet the new technologies and to address new complications arising on copyright front.

The purpose behind enacting the copyright act is to promote art and science by giving exclusive right to the creator or inventor of their respective creation or invention.  The US copyright act protects the original work of authorship including literary, musical, dramatic, pictographic, graphical, choreographic, sculptural, audiovisual work, sound recording and sound recording among other art forms.

The US copyright act protects the expression of idea but do not protect the idea. The idea can be used by other but such expression can be protected under the copyright. However, it has always been debatable and is decided on case to case basis if debated legally. It is also to be noted that though compilation is a copyrightable work but facts cannot be protected under copyright. The compilation to get protection under the copyright act should have certain degree of originality or creativity attached to it.

As per US copyright act, the owner of any copyright has the right to do and authorize others to do the following with the copyright work:

  1. To Reproduce
  2. To prepare derivative work
  3. To distribute
  4. To publicly perform
  5. To publicly display

These are called the five pillars of US copyright law. Any violation of these five fundamental rights of the copyright owner will be deemed as copyright infringement.

An original piece of work automatically gets protection under the US copyright act but registration of such works puts the copyright owner in a better position in case any litigation arises. In case of infringement, the copyright owner can file a legal case for appropriate relief.

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