Copyrights protect authors of original pieces of both published and unpublished works including, but not limited to, literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic. The 1976 Copyright Act gives the owner the exclusive rights to authorize the following: reproduction of the work, prepare derivatives of the work, distribute copies of the work, transfer ownership, and perform/display work publicly.

Fair Use

There are, however, some limitations to these rights. Sections 107-122 of the Copyright Act outline some exceptions to this law. Under the “fair use” doctrine, there are four main factors:

  • The use of the work is for commercial or non-profit educational purposes;
  • Nature of copyrighted work;
  • Amount of copyrighted work used; and
  • Effect of use upon market/value of work

There is also what is known as a “compulsory license,” where the use of original works may be permitted under specified royalties/payments and conditions.

What is Protected?

The work of an author immediately becomes copyrighted once it is created; the author has sole claim over the rights of their work. All “original works of authorship” in a tangible form are protected. These include literary works, pictorial/sculptural works, motion pictures, dramatic works, musical works, sound recordings, etc.

There are some works that are not eligible for federal protection, including: titles, names and short phrases, ideas, procedures, concepts, and those containing no original authorship.

How to Get a Copyright

While the author of an original work becomes the sole owner of it upon creation, it is a good idea to have the copyright registered to ensure complete intellectual property protection. Larson Patent Law has been serving the Largo, Clearwater, and Tampa Bay area for more than 25 years. Our attorneys are available to talk with you about the original work you want protected.

If you have questions about the process or wish to set up a consultation with experienced and knowledgeable industry professionals, give us a call today: 727-546-0660.