With a copyright, your original or fixed works are safeguarded under specific laws. These works can include everything from visual recordings to literary works. If you want to protect your creative works, contact a copyright attorney at BOAG Law.
What Is a Copyright?
When an author creates any work in a tangible form, it can fall into the category of intellectual property. Under current copyright laws, books, blog posts, computer programs, musical compositions, photographs, paintings, and audio/visual recordings are just some of the works protected according to U.S. copyright laws.
Current laws protect two types of works: original and fixed.
When a human author or creator develops the work, it requires a certain level of creativity. If the work owes its creation to an author, without copying another creator’s efforts, it is an original work. According to the United States Supreme Court, an original work must have a “spark” and “modicum” of creativity. Novels, poems, films, song lyrics, and paintings can fall into this category.
Under the law, a work is deemed fixed when captured in a stable, tangible, and concrete form. For example, a short story printed on paper is considered fixed, but the live performance of the story does not fall under this classification. A fixed work is captured in a permanent medium that allows it to be reproduced, perceived, or communicated to others.
Who Is a Copyright Owner?
A copyright owner is anyone who creates an original work or fixes someone’s creation on a permanent medium. Organizations, companies, and other individuals can claim a copyright in addition to the author. Some copyright law allows employers to claim ownership through the “works made for hire” doctrine.
Under U.S. copyright law, the owner can have a few exclusive rights, such as:
- Distributing the work for public sale.
- Performing the work in a public setting if it is a dramatic, choreographed, literary, or musical work.
- Displaying the work publicly, whether it is musical, literary, dramatic, or choreographed. This right also applies to audiovisual and motion picture works.
- Reproducing works in phonorecords and copies.
- Creating derivative works based on the original work.
- Performing the work through digital audio transmission for a sound recording.
With a copyright, the owner can authorize other individuals to exercise these exclusive rights.
Length of a Copyright
The length of your specific copyright will depend on when someone created the work. Under the law, all works created on or after January 1, 1978, have active copyright for the term of the author’s life plus 70 years. If the creation were considered joint work, the 70 years would start after the last author’s death.
For any “for hire,” pseudonymous, or anonymous works, the copyright will be in effect for 95 years from the publication or 120 years from the initial creation, whichever is shorter.
As soon as the work is fixed in a tangible medium, the author must begin using the copyright symbol and inform others of their intention to exercise control of the work’s distribution, production, display, and performance. With these steps, it is easier for the courts to enforce the copyright.
New York Copyright Lawyers
BOAG Law has a team of intellectual property attorneys in New York. We can advise you on whether you need copyright protection for your works and how you can take steps to protect your creation. Contact our offices online or call us at 212-203-6651 to schedule an appointment. We are available for in-office consultations or video conferencing meetings.