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Essential Intellectual Property Documents
Common Copyright Questions
What is a copyright?
A copyright, like a trademark or patent, is a form of protection for intellectual property. Whereas patents cover inventions and trademarks cover logos and brand names, copyrights protect artistic works, like songs, photographs, and novels.
How do I get copyright protection for my work?
Getting copyright protection is actually quite straightforward. The US Copyright Office explains that your artistic work is copyrighted “the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form,” which means, basically: your work is copyrighted the moment it’s created. Publication—whether by a record label, a newspaper, or simply online—can help you prove infringement in the event it occurs.
What is copyright infringement?
By creating an artistic work, you own its copyright. If another person or entity uses that work without your permission, they are infringing on your copyright. Infringement can mean anything from the reproduction of a drawing to the performance of a song, but quite often occurs when someone creates a derivative version of your copyrighted work. For example, if an author plagiarised several paragraphs from a story you’ve written, that author may be liable for that infringement.
Should I register a copyright with the US government?
Since your work is copyrighted the moment it's created, you might wonder what the purpose of the US Copyright Registry is. Simply put, registering your copyright is the surest way to prove authorship of your work and is a vital step if you want to bring an infringement lawsuit against another party. In fact, you can’t bring a lawsuit to court without registering.
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