Protecting Your Creative Expression

For information on the basics of the copyright process (Click Here)

Intellectual Property refers to the “property” rights associated with patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Whereas a patent offers protection for a new and useful product, process, manufacture, composition of matter, or improvement thereto, a copyright offers protection for creative works of authorship. Works of authorship can include musical, pictorial, graphical and architectural works, web sites or e-commerce sites, sound recordings, as well as other creative works of expression. A copyright does exactly what the word implies … it gives the owner the “right” to control any attempt to “copy” the created work.

However, when used in a copyright sense, the term “copy” actually encompasses a broader meaning and includes control over the reproduction, distribution, performance, derivative, and display rights of the work. Simply put, copyright protection gives the owner of the work the right to keep others from using the work without the owners permission. Authors, architects, musicians, painters, filmmakers, composers, ... all produce work which may be the subject of copyright protection.

The framers of the Constitution understood that, without assurances to control the reproduction (copying), distribution, and display of their work, creative artists would have little incentive to create, display and distribute their works. Accordingly, Congress enacted laws protecting copyrights. Subject to numerous exceptions, for works created after 1978, a copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.

Unlike patents, a copyright is automatically created by common law when the work is created. Therefore, filing for copyright protection is not a necessary prerequisite to establish a copyright. However, filing for copyright protection with the Federal Government is essential to enforcing your copyright, and is strongly advised.

Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University created this humorous, yet informative, review of copyright principles delivered through the words of the very folks we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms:

The law firm of Paparella & Associates has extensive experience advising clients on the development, protection, and enforcement of copyrights. Whether by advising your company on systems for efficiently obtaining copyright protection for creative expressions, or by managing the filings and prosecution necessary to obtain a copyright protection on your behalf, Paparella and Associates is able to assist in the procurement, policing, and enforcement of your copyrighted materials.

For information on how the law firm of Paparella & Associates can help you file or protect your copyrighted materials, please contact us today at one of our convenient locations.

For further information on Copyrights, or for filing for your own Copyright registration, Visit the United States (US) Copyright Office by clicking HERE

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