Thursday, March 22, 2007
Here is some basic copyright information. I am NOT a copyright attorney so please verify this information before relying on it! Copyrights are filed on things called "intellectual property". A copyright protects your right to control the sale, use of distribtuion and royalities from a creation in thought, music, films, art, or books (also known as "intellectual property"). It is an automatic form of protection for authors of published and unpublished original works of authorship. The "concrete form of expression"is protected but the subject matter is NOT protected. Since a copyright is automatic when a work is created, registration is NOT required for protection. However, there are many advantages to registration of a copyright. It is approx. $50 for each item that you want to register. If something is registered within 5 years of the original publication date, it established what is called "prima facie evidence" of its validity (also known as it is valid on its face) and can be helpful in a court case (also known as a lawsuit). Generally, the intellectual property is protected for the life of the author plus 70 years after the author's death. You can get free information from the Library of Congress' U. s. Copyright Office in Washington, D.C. I believe their website is www.copyright.gov. You might also try www.loc.gov/copyright/rb.html. If you want to copyright or trademark something, please consult an experienced attorney in this field. It is an evolving field due to litigation and advances in technology.