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Find Copyright Lawyer

Copyright

One of the fundamental rights in intellectual property law is copyright. Copyright protects creative works automatically at the time of creation and lasts for a certain period of time with the intent to allow the author of a work to profit off of their creation. Copyright law is complex in the way that it interacts with concepts such as the public domain, fair use, and international standards.

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Law Office of Edwin Burnett

36 years in practice
Copyright, Intellectual Property
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Law Office of Edwin Burnett

36 years in practice
Copyright, Intellectual Property
View Profile

Protecting Intellectual Rights

Copyright is designed to protect the creative intellectual property rights of an individual or set of individuals. Copyright protections vary depending on whether the work is of U.S. or international origin. Even when a property is protected there are still certain fair use circumstances in which copyrighted works can be used.

U.S. Copyright

U.S. copyright is some of the most extensive copyright protection afforded in the world. The U.S. copyright law lasts the entire lifespan of the author plus another 70 years. In the event of joint authorship of a work, the copyright lasts until the death of last author, with the 70 additional years of protection beginning after the last author has died. In the event of anonymous works or works using a pseudonym, copyright protection lasts 95 years from the date of first publication.

International Copyright

International copyright law is governed by an 1886 accord known as the Berne Convention. The Berne Convention is based on three basic principles:
1. Works created in the contracted states by citizens of a contracting state must receive the same protections in every state as are granted in the original nation.
2. A principle of automatic protection
3. Protection in the member nation is independent of protection in the nation of origin. If the copyright protection expires in the country of origin, member states may deny protection in their nation.
According to the Berne Convention, copyright protections last the entire life of the author and an additional 50 years.

Fair Use

Fair use controls the way that copyrighted works can be used by non-authors. Fair use states that if a copyrighted work is used in a way that is transformative and non-commercial then it is likely able to be used by the non-authors.

The transformative standard measures whether the work has been substantially changed in this new form. In order to determine if a copyrighted work has been transformed, then something new must have been added with further purpose or changing the character of the new product. Transformation means that the use of the copyrighted property does not substitute for the original purpose of the work.

If a work has been found to be transformative then it can be used under fair use.

Protecting Your Intellectual Rights

If you have an intellectual property that you need to protect, you will need the help of an experienced intellectual property law attorney. An intellectual property attorney is able to focus completely on your case and get you the best possible outcome.

In order to achieve this best outcome, however, you will need an attorney who has the expertise and resources to take your case all the way. That’s why you should contact Attorney at Law. By partnering with AAL, you will be able to avoid slogging through the quagmire of unscrupulous lawyers looking to exploit your case.

At AAL, we only partner with the best firms in your area, helping you find the best attorney for your case. Don’t wait, contact AAL today to be matched with skilled and experienced attorneys in your area who practice intellectual property law.

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Copyright Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a copyright and what does it protect?

A copyright is a form of intellectual property protection that is afforded to “works of authorship.” A copyright can protect a character, story, song, artwork, or other form of media or expression. If something is copyrighted then it cannot be replicated without permission and compensation of the copyright owner.

2. How do I obtain copyright protection for my creative work?

Originally, something had to be marked with a copyright in order to be considered protected. In the modern age, however, a work is automatically protected as soon as it is created. This does not mean that there is no point in formally registering a copyright with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office, but it does mean that people can no longer lose the opportunity to copyright their works through forgetfulness. 

3. What are the rights granted to copyright holders?

A copyright gives limited protections against unauthorized use of the copyrighted material. This generally means that other people cannot use the copyrighted material to try to sell or otherwise profit from it. While copyright protects most items, there are still some authorized uses of copyrighted material under the tenants of fair use.

4. How long does copyright protection last?

Different copyrights last for different periods of time. International copyright is governed by the Berne Convention and lasts for the life of the author plus 50 years. U.S. copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years, with joint authors beginning the 70 year timer after the last author’s death. Anonymous works are copyrighted for 95 years from the time of first publication.

5. What are the legal remedies available for copyright infringement?

If a copyright holder believes that their copyright has been violated, they may file a legal claim of copyright infringement. If the work is found to be a violation of copyright, then the courts can order that the infringing property be removed from circulation and future profits from the infringing work may be passed on to the copyright holder.

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