Copyright is a type of intellectual property. It is the idea that there is an original work of authorship (based on the expression of ideas) fixed in tangible form that deserves protection.
Many types of things can be copyrighted, including literary works (yes, even computer software), graphic, musical or dramatic works, sound records, and more. As long as the work is not in the public domain and/or proven facts it is able to be copyrighted.
Copyright in a work is created the moment it is fixed (meaning developed, etc.). As such filing for a copyright registration is not necessary, but there are certain benefits to registering the work. Let’s look at the benefits:
- Puts people on notice, informing people that this is a copy written work.
- Enables the owner to file a lawsuit to enforce copyright protection.
- Bans infringing works (even if it’s a foreign import).
The biggest downsides to registration is that it costs money and takes time.
Now that we looked at what copyrights are and how/why to secure them, then let’s look at the types of authorship as not every work has a sole author.
There may be a joint or co-authorship on the work and this arises when two or more authors work together to produce the work with the intention that their individual contributions will be merged into one.
Works for Hire
Another type of authorship are works made for hire. Works made for hire are those prepared by employees within the scope of their employment, or those specifically commissioned for use as a contribution to some collective work. Unfortunately, in these cases the author is often the employer (or the other person for whom the work was prepared, unless a contract was signed that says otherwise.
Navigating the law of copyrights can be complex, but it is worthwhile for many individuals and businesses because it protects their ideas. Seeking the counsel of a licensed business and copyright attorney can make all the difference. To speak to us about your possible copyright, please reach out to schedule time to get on our calendar.