Scope of Copyright Protection
Your copyright is among your most highly valued assets. The following are some frequently asked questions about the scope of copyright law.
What Protections Are Provided by Copyright Law?
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or artist‚ it helps to know exactly what protections your copyright gives you. Owners are granted exclusive rights over their work‚ including the following:
- Reproduction of the work
- Production of derivative works based on the original work
- Distribution of copies to the public
- Public performance of the work
- Public display of the work
- Public performance of the work by means of a digital audio transmission (applies to sound recordings)
To qualify for a copyright‚ a work must first meet two basic requirements: originality and fixation.
What Is Originality in Copyright Law?
There is no international standard for what constitutes “originality.” Each country independently sets their own standard. In the United States‚ a work only needs to be independently conceived and exhibit “at least some minimal degree of creativity” in order to be considered original‚ as was ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991 in Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service Co.‚ 499 U.S. 340.
What Is Fixation in Copyright Law?
According to 17 U.S. Code § 101‚ a work must be “fixed in a tangible medium of expression” and stable enough to be “perceived‚ reproduced or communicated for a period of more than transitory duration” to qualify for copyright protection. Electronic works‚ such as television shows or computer software‚ are excluded from this definition of fixation.
Ideas Cannot Be Copyrighted
According to 17 U.S. Code § 102(b)‚ “in no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea‚ procedure‚ process‚ system‚ method of operation‚ concept‚ principle‚ or discovery‚ regardless of the form in which it is described‚ explained‚ illustrated or embodied in such work.” Allowing for the protection of mere ideas that have not yet been developed would curtail creativity and the production of useful works.
Contact Us Today
Mandour & Associates‚ APC has been practicing exclusively in the areas of copyright law and intellectual property for over 15 years. We are very familiar with copyright law and can provide you with sound legal counsel on your particular copyright issue. Please feel free to contact us.