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Copyright Law Act
The Copyright Law Act of 1976
The Copyright Law Act of 1976 is the basis of the United States copyright laws. The Copyright Law Act states the rights of copyright owners, the doctrine of the fair use copyright laws and it changed the term life of copyrights. Before the Copyright Law Act the law had not been revised since 1909. It was necessary that the copyright laws be revised to take into account technological strides that were being made in radio, sound recordings, motions pictures and more. The Copyright Law Act of 1976 preempted all previous laws that were on the books in the United States, including the Copyright Act of 1909.
The Copyright Law Act of 1976 defines ?works of authorship? to include all of the following:
* Musical works
* Literary works
* Dramatic works
* Pictorial, sculptural and graphics
* Motion Pictures and Audiovisuals
* Sound Recordings
* Choreographic Works and Pantomimes
* An eighth work which falls under ?architectural works? was later added in 1990.
What is unique about the United States copyright law is that it is automatic. Once someone has an idea and produces it in tangible form, the creator is the copyright holder and has the authority to enforce his exclusivity to it. In other words, the person is the owner of the creation. It is not necessary that a person register their work. However, it is recommended and it can serve as evidence if someone ever violates a copyright. It is interesting to note that when an employer hires an employee to produce a work that the copyright is given to the employer.
Violations of US Copyright Law are generally enforced in a civil court setting. However, there could also be criminal sanctions brought against someone who violates US copyright law. Someone that is in serious violation of US Copyright Law such as counterfeiting can find themselves on the inside of prison looking out. People need to understand that the copyright symbol is not a requirement. Someone may have a copyright, yet their work may not have a copyright notice or symbol.
US Copyright Law covers a wide range of things that are derived from artistic expression, intellectual or creative work. This includes things such as literary works, music, drawings, photographs, software, movies, choreographic works such as ballets and plays, poems, paintings and more. The law covers the form of expression, not the concept, facts or the actual idea of the work. This means that someone can use another person?s idea or concept and produce their own take on it. However, copying another person?s work is a violation. It should be noted that some things may not be copyrighted but they may be protected by a patent or trademark.
Individuals who have a copyright on a particular piece of work can do with it what they will. They may choose to copy it and sell it. They may display their work or perform it in public and charge admission, or they can assign or sell the work to someone else. Individuals who have a copyright can also choose to do nothing with their work, if that is their desire. However, if someone comes along and takes the work and tries to use it in some way, that person is still in violation of the owner?s copyright. The Copyright Law Act covers published and unpublished work.
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How to copyright software How to Copyright Software Sanely If you're wondering how to copyright software the good news is you've probably already done it. At least you have if you have ever written software. Most people however get confused over exactly what having a copyright for their software means and this is the trickier question to answer. First of all, thinking it isn't going to do it and you can't really copyright the things you think. Second, only those things that can be seen (when it comes to software) can be copyrighted. If you want to protect the abstract, look into patents. Otherwise if it is original, fixed, and tangible you can copyright it. Essentially you already know how to copyright software if you've put it into a finished form. Once you've written the source code the copyright belongs to you. Copyrighting software doesn't offer the protection that many people hope it will. The idea of the software and anything about the finished product that wasn't available in a tangible (visible) form isn't protected by the copyright. In fact the only thing that is undeniably protected by copyright when it comes to software is the source code. The question you should be asking is now how to copyright software, it is how to patent your software and that requires a much more involved and prolonged explanation. To obtain a patent for your software you must apply for a patent in each country that offers patents for software and in which you wish to have the protection a patent can offer. I warned you this was much trickier than how to copyright software. Then it gets trickier still. There is no universal legal definition of what a software patent is so each country that offers patents also has a different definition for what is protected by that patent as well as for why a patent will be granted. If you want to add to the confusion a little more while wondering how to copyright software, also consider the fact that your software may be given a patent in one of the countries where you applied and none of the others. Of course, if this is not enough fun for you, you can try to deal with the red tape involved in dealing with multiple governments in order to resolve any issues or disputes that may have arisen from the result of the software patents you hold. If you've forgotten the original question it was: how to copyright software? I told you that one was much easier. The main thing you need to do if you're going for international patents (which can secure a profitable future for you and your business) is to get a really good patent lawyer and have him walk you through and hold your hand for the entire process. In fact, I would say that's probably the best advice you can get. Patents are complicated and when you're not exactly sure of what you're doing, whom you need to talk to, and what the next step is you stand to waste a lot of time while taking a bigger risk. It is much easier to deal with how to copyright software on your own than it is to work out the complicated world of software patents. If this is your first time designing your own software you have every right to be nervous and excited and scared to death at the same time. Remember lawyers went to school much longer than you in order to know what to do in this situation so you should not be expected to know how to copyright software when you've never done it before.