By S. Housley
Copyright is a type of intellectual property. A copyright
is a set of exclusive rights granted by the government for a limited
time to protect the particular form, way or manner in which an idea
or information is expressed. Copyright is the legal protection given
to artists or producers of creative work which protects them against
unauthorized copying of their work.
All copyrighted material must be produced in a tangible
medium (photo, paper, CD, or video). Concepts, processes and ideas
can not be copy protected in the United States. If a statement is
made yet not recorded or published it is not protected under the
US copyright laws. In other words things must be recorded in a physical
form in order to be protected under the copyright laws in the United
Any creative works that meets the definition is copy
protected. If the creative works was produced after 1978, it is
protected for the length of the authors life plus 70 years.
In the US original works can be registered to be copy
protected at the US Copyright Office. If a creative work is not
registered at the US Copyright Office, it is still considered copy
protected. Registration does however make it easier to defend a
copyright. Use of a copyright notice is encouraged to be included
with creative works because it informs the public that the work
is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright owner, and shows
the year of first publication.
In the US the Copyright Act of 1976 governs all US
copyrights. Additionally the US has treaties with a number of other
countries that assist copyright holders with protection in foreign
countries. Unfortunately, there is no international copyright law
that grants immediate protection to copyright holders. That said,
most developed countries do respect and offer some form of copyright
protection. These foreign copyright protections have been made easier
through treaties and conventions, namely the Universal Copyright
Convention in 1955 and the Berne Convention in 1989. Nations that
participate in these conventions respect copyrights from other participating
Copyrights are often confused with trademarks. Trademarks
are also a type of intellectual property. Trademarks are any symbols,
words, number, picture, or design, used by manufacturers or merchants
to identify their own goods and distinguish them from goods made
or sold by others. Company logos are an excellent example of a creative
that can be protected through a trademark. Trademarks are also known
as service marks. Trademarks are registered with the USPTO (United
States Patent and Trademark Office), they are not registered with
the US Copyright Office.
Unlike copyrights, protection of unregistered trademarks
may be limited to their specific geographical area. Trademarks must
be actively used in order to be considered "defensible".
Technology is challenging the laws with new venues
and mediums falling under the protection of copyright and trademark
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts.
In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll http://www.recordforall.com
audio recording and editing software.