What is the definition of copyright?

09/15/2014 14:25

When individuals create poems, stories, reviews, novels, biographies or other writings regarded as intellectual property, it belongs to them and them only. The difficulty is how to protect such intellectual activities from those who might possibly take advantage of such imaginative projects for their own use without payment to the original author. That is where copyright laws come in.

This set of laws shields the authors from plagiarism and so from those who would appropriate some or all of the original work of a writer as if it were their own. Copyright laws give the creator the right to use his/her works as they want to and this applies to movies, applications and architecture as well as written material. This means the author can discard, sell the work or permit certain publication rights to others. Copyright laws give the writer exclusive rights to income from his creative works. This security permits authors to have the liberty to continue to create, aware that their creations are safeguarded under national and international copyright laws.

Not all issues come within copyright protection. You can't copyright a fact. Ideas, methods and systems also cannot be copyright protected. While facts and ideas can not, in and of themselves, be copyright, how they are displayed can be copyrighted, if the presentation is authentic to the author.

As soon as an author creates a story or essay or anything else, that piece of writing is instantly under copyright. No one has any legal right to use it without the permission of the writer. However, without registering the copyright, the writer will have a more difficult time verifying ownership should plagiarism arise. Not registering a copyright also effects any monetary payment, which will be less with an unregistered copyright.

While a registered copyright doesn’t endure forever, it does protect the author’s interests. If the work was created after the laws altered in February 1, 1978, the protection lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. This grants his children or heirs the opportunity to also benefit from the copyrighted work. This copyright may not be renewed. Copyrights for works prior to 1978 varied depending on a number of factors. These copyrights can be renewed for 25 years with protections and are managed under the 1909 copyright laws.

Once a copyright ends, there is no more recourse for the author or beneficiaries. When this occurs, the work comes into public domain. This means that the work can be printed, published or alternatively used for derivative works.

This article is based on US law.