What is a Copyright

establish a copyrightWhat is a copyright? Copyright is a legal term describing rights given to creators for their literary and artistic works. The kinds of works covered by copyright include: literary works such as novels, poems, plays, reference works, newspapers and computer programs; databases; films, musical compositions, and choreography; artistic works such as paintings, drawings, photographs and sculpture; architecture; and advertisements, maps and technical drawings.

Copyrighting your creative work protects it from unauthorized use. With a registered copyright, you control how your work is reproduced, distributed and presented publicly. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Material not protected by copyright (or otherwise protected) is available for use by anyone without the author’s consent.

Works protected by copyright: A copyright gives certain exclusive rights to persons who create original works of authorship, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works.

Types of Works to Copyright

Registering your work: The U.S. Copyright Office registers several different kinds of work. The following is a general overview of the different kinds of work(s) that can be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Non-dramatic written work not meant for performance of any kind, excluding a periodical or serial issue. Literary Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, textbooks, reference works, directories, catalogs, advertising copy, compilations of information, computer programs and databases.
Visual Arts Works include two or three dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art, photographs, prints and art reproductions, maps, technical drawings, and architectural works.
Performing arts works include musical work (with or without lyrics), dramatic work, such as a screenplay, play or other script, a pantomime, or a choreographic work. Works of Performing Arts that also include a sound recording, are considered Sound Recording Works.
A Sound Recording results from the fixation of a series of musical, spoken, or other sounds. The author of a sound recording is the performer(s) whose performance is fixed, or the record producer who processes the sounds and fixes them in the final recording, or both.

Sound recording registration can include both the audio recording and the underlying recorded musical, dramatic, or literary work(s), along with the sound recording of the work(s). To register both the audio recording and the underlying work on a single application, the copyright claimant must own all rights in both works.

With one exception, sound recordings are works that result from the fixation of a series of musical, spoken, or other sounds. Exception: Under the copyright law, the sounds that accompany an audiovisual work, for example, a motion picture, are not defined as a sound recording but rather Motion Picture/Audiovisual.

A Motion Picture or Audiovisual Work can include a feature film, documentary film, animated film, television show, video, video game, or other audiovisual work. An audiovisual work is a work that consists of a series of related images that are intended to be shown by the use of a machine or device, together with accompanying sounds, if any.

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