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Copyright Law

March 10, 2017

Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution. This is usually only for a limited time. The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. A major limitation on copyright is that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves. Copyright is a form of intellectual property, applicable to certain forms of creative work. Some, but not all jurisdictions require “fixing” copyrighted works in a tangible form. It is often shared among multiple authors, each of whom holds a set of rights to use or license the work, and who are commonly referred to as rights holders. These rights frequently include reproduction, control over derivative works, distribution, public performance, and “moral rights” such as attribution.  A copyright is a legal structure that provides the creator of most types of intellectual property with a measure of protection against infringement. As long as the creation is unique and detailed enough, copyright law provides the protection needed to keep their work safe from those who might try to copy or otherwise appropriate their work for their own use. A legal copyright gives the author of the work the right to control the reproduction of the work, and to decide how it is used and who is able to use it. With a copyright, the creator of that work can assign or sell their intellectual property to others, but any other use of their work violates their rights and constitutes infringement.

While a copyright is a form of intellectual property protection, it differs from creator protection devices like patents, which give an inventor exclusive rights over the use of their inventions; or trademarks, which legally protect words, symbols, drawings or phrases from infringement. Copyright protects the expression of an idea, notion or creative pursuit in its entirety. The basic concept behind copyright is originality; whatever is to be copyrighted must be unique and special and it must represent a particular author or creator.

Copyright law has changed over time, to reflect the times. It now covers almost everything that can be written or described in any significant way. That includes books of all kinds, magazines, short stories, pictorial works, music of all kinds, computer programs and mobile apps, computer code, scripts, plays and clothing patterns; practically anything else that is an expression of an idea or concept. The best part of current copyright law is, you automatically obtain a copyright upon creation, as long as the creation is yours and not a “work for hire,” such as a work you create as part of your employment or as part of a contract. As long as it’s not a work for hire, the original author has the right in it and the right to use it however they see fit.

However, as is the case with any legal concept, it’s not enough to create something and say you own it and declare its date of creation. When someone challenges your copyright, the owner of the copyrighted work must be able to prove their legal right to the satisfaction of a judge in a court of law.

Copyright cases are usually disputes between competing private interests, which means they are civil matters that must be proven by a preponderance of evidence in a court of law, or settled through negotiations or an agreement to cease and desist. There is no way to prevail without proof that the creation belongs to you and proof that the copyright took effect on a particular date.

When you make a deposit into the CopyrightDrive.com system, you put your work into the hands of trained professionals who have a legal obligation to maintain your work in pristine condition. They will certify your ownership at the same time they establish a date certain for its creation. Again; you technically have a copyright in your work as soon as it’s created, but no one will take your word for it. The only way to enforce it is with proof. The proof provided by a deposit into our system is incontestable because, once it is in our system, it cannot be altered, even by the creator and owner. Your deposit is frozen in time, which means you can always present the initial version of your work whenever you need it.

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