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Copyrights are used to protect the tangible (physical) form of original works of authorship. The types of original works that can be protected by copyright include, but are not limited to, musical compositions and lyrics, recorded musical performances, literary works such as books or poetry, business advertising materials and computer programs, motion pictures, sculpture, paintings and other works of visual art, and architectural works.

Copyrights do not protect the "ideas" underlying these works but rather, protect the specific expression of those ideas that are embodied in the works themselves. This means that the holder of a copyright has the right to prevent others from using the particular copyrighted work without permission, but cannot stop that person from using the underlying idea or facts to produce their own work on the same idea or topic.

Unlike patents and trademarks, copyrights extend nearly world wide, and without any special registration requirements for the most part. Copyrights arise automatically when the work is created and "fixed" (i.e. written down) in a tangible medium, but, in the case of U.S. authors, should be registered with the Register of Copyrights to maximize the author's rights if, later, there is an instance of unauthorized use. Although not required by law, every work should bear a copyright notice, which consists of © (and/or the word copyright), the year of publication, the copyright holder's name and the words "All rights Reserved". For example: © Copyright 1776 George Washington, All rights Reserved. A work that is created (fixed in tangible form for the first time) on or after January 1, 1978, is automatically protected from the moment of its creation and is ordinarily given a term enduring for the author's life plus an additional 70 years after the author's death. In the case of a joint work prepared by two or more authors who did not work for hire, the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving author's death. For works made for hire, (as in the case of an employee preparing a work during the normal course of his/her employment) and for anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the author's identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright will be 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.

A copyright gives its owner several exclusive rights, which only the owner can exercise. Unless the rights are licensed by the owner to another person, the copyright owner is the only person who can make copies (reproductions) of the copyrighted work. The owner is also the only person who can adapt the work, for example, by preparing a film script based on the owner's copyrighted book. In addition, the copyright holder has exclusive control over public distribution, performance, and display of the work.

Our Firm has extensive expertise in assisting clients in various Copyright registration, infringement and defense actions.