Copyright is a legal right that grants the creator of an original work of authorship exclusive rights to its use and distribution for a limited time. These exclusive rights enable the author, e.g. the photographer of a photograph, the author of a book, or the videographer of a YouTuve video, to receive compensation for their intellectual effort. Any person who copies or distributes a copyrighted work potentially infringes the copyright, and may be liable to the copyright owner for their use.
Copyright is an important intellectual property right established in the constitution "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." Accordingly, the United States recognizes copyright in any completed work, without formal registration. However, formal registration helps prove the date and originality of the work, and it is required to utilize some of the statutory penalties for copyright infringement.
Despite the important rights granted to copyright owners, the U.S. recognizes several copyright limitations, allowing "fair use" of the copyrighted work in certain situations. The development of digital media and computer network technologies has prompted reinterpretation of these exceptions. On the one hand many content consumers argue for shortening copyright duration and limiting its enforcement. Simultaneously, businesses with great economic dependence upon copyright, such as those in the music business, have advocated the extension and expansion of their intellectual property rights.
If you have any questions regarding whether your business is compliant with current copyright law, or have new content that you would like to federally register, please contact us to schedule a consultation.