Basic Copyright Laws

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From literary, musical, and architectural works to motion pictures and choreography, copyright was governed to protect the ownership of your own creations. It is important to understand the basics of copyright laws. If you create something, the copyright law gives you full ownership to your work. This means that someone must have the legal right or your permission to copy or use your work. It covers both published and unpublished works. Copyright usually is seen as the symbol with the c in the small circle (©) or written out as the word “Copyright.” Following this is the year of the works first publication and beside that, the name of the copyright owner.

This copyright law is a federal statute enacted by congress under the Copyright Act of 1976. The fair use statute determines what is fair and what isn’t when dealing with infringement. So if you take someone’s work that isn’t exploited and used for commercial reasons, you shouldn’t be charged with anything. If you copy and/or profit off of someone else’s work without their permission, a lawsuit may be held against them and they will have to pay the copyright owner the amount of money they made from using their work.

A disclaimer is a statement used to specify the rights of when you are associating yourself or your work with someone else’s work. They are meant to protect you from others who may accuse you from stealing their work. They may or may not be enforceable, it all depends on what you are creating a disclaimer for and the laws of the state. A common form of a disclaimer is a warning sign. An example of this is when you see an “enter at your own risk” sign. So if someone gets injured in that specific place, you won’t be held liable for their injuries. Disclaimers can also be used for medications, contracts, or advertisements.

You don’t have to register to copyright. As soon as you create something, your protected. However, having a copyright notice does provide some benefits. For example, you can bring a lawsuit against someone if they infringe your copyright. Filing procedures for a registration for copyright is done by submitting a legal document to the Copyright Office. Registering for copyright establishes a public record of it and expires 70 years after your death. That is why we can use music from Mozart or copy poems from Shakespeare without permission.


Sample Copyright Notices – TermsFeed

Copyright Basics – Copyright Society of the USA 

Copyright in General

Disclaimer Laws