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The right to reproduce, publish, or sell a certain work of art or technology

What is Copyright?

A copyright is an official declaration stating that an entity owns the rights to reproduce, publish, or sell a certain work of art or technology. A governing authority approves the copyright, which covers original writings, stage and film works, and many other creations. They are the rights of the person who applied for a patent.




Unless the owner of the patent decides to transfer the rights to a second party through a creative commons license, no other individual is permitted to interfere with such rights. It implies that unless the holder of the patent permits it, no other entity is allowed to violate the patent.


Copyright Search

Using another person’s work is against copyright law in the US. Any person wishing to reproduce or use patented material must seek permission from the owner of the copyright. However, creative works of art can be hired. It is equivalent to paying the owner so that he can allow someone else to use his work without necessarily taking over ownership. That said, it is possible to purchase copyright so that rights to ownership can be transferred to someone else.

To determine the owner of a copyright, the first thing a person should find is a copyright notice, if it’s available, which will provide the copyright owner’s name and the date of issue.

If the information is not easily available, the owner of the copyright can be found by doing a copyright search. Data on ownership, registration, and transfer is readily available on the copyright office’s website.

If a person is looking for copyrights registered 40 years ago and onwards, he can find it by simply searching online using its registration number, name, or keyword. In addition, copyrights recorded from 1870 to 1977 can be found physically by looking through the copyright card catalog found at the Copyright Public Records Reading Room.


Differences between a Copyright, Patent, and Trademark

There are three ways to protect intellectual property rights (IPR):


1. Copyright

Copyright protects authorship expressed in various tangible forms. Included here are books, works of art, songs and movies. Copyright protection usually extends 70 years beyond the author’s natural life.


2. Patent

A patent protects new inventions such as manufactured items, machines, industrial processes, and chemical compositions. Interval of protection is dependent on the type of patent given. A design patent usually lasts 14 years while a plant and utility patent lasts 20 years.


3. Trademark

A trademark protects symbols, words, designs, and phrases that identify products made by different parties. Trademarks apply to logos, brand names, and slogans. They do not expire and usually last until the owner no longer requires them.


Things Not Protected by a Copyright


1. Methods, Ideas, and Systems

They comprise a number of works and includes methods used to build or make things, scientific ideas or discoveries, technical or scientific methods, business procedures or operations, mathematical algorithms, formulas, and principles. Blank forms also fall in the category.


2. Commonly Known Information

It includes items usually considered to be owned by society in general. For example, weight and height charts, rulers, tape measures, as well as standard calendars. It is the category commonly referred to as the sky is blue since there is no individual who can claim authorship.


3. Choreographed Works

Choreography is defined as the steps followed in a dance routine. Choreographed works can’t be patented unless the dance moves are recorded in a video or notated in one form or another. Speeches not transcribed prior to or after they are read also fall in the same category.


4. Titles, Names, Expressions, and Short Phrases

The category includes slogans, pseudonyms, catchphrases, titles of work, and product descriptions. For a wide-ranging description, it is always best to consult Circular 34 found at the copyrights office.

In addition, recipes are included in the category. It is not possible to protect the ingredients used in a recipe although an individual owns the right over the descriptions provided. Other factors need to be considered before issuing a patent such as whether the author of the recipe included it as a special part of his cookbook. The recipe may contain parts that can be protected.


Final Word

Copyrights offer authors a way to protecting their work against plagiarism. Using another person’s work without his permission is a violation of copyright law and moral rights. With copyright, a person is able to claim ownership of a work of art by protecting it from abuse.


Related Readings

CFI is the official provider of the global Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program, designed to help anyone become a world-class financial analyst. To keep advancing your career, the additional resources below will be useful:

  • Intangible Assets
  • Reneging
  • Safe Harbor
  • Vicarious Liability

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