If you are entering into the realm of copyright protections, you’ll first need a strong overview of basic copyright definitions. Start with this guide.
The United States has laws in place to protect “original works of authorship” including:
While the term literally means “the right to copy,” copyright has come to signify the exclusive body of rights granted to the work of copyright owners. Copyrights do not extend to:
•Typographic ornamentation variations
In 1886, international entities signed the “Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works” in the Swiss city of Berne. The international treaty affords copyright protections to foreign original works in certain situations. In early 1989, the United States also recognized and agreed to the Berne Convention as well as the associated revisions, protocols and acts.
Excluding phonorecords, copy is the object where the copyrighted material is first fixed. From this object, the work can be reproduced or communicated directly or with the help of technology.
A phonorecord is a means of fixing or recording sound, so CDs, vinyl disks, cassettes and similar devices can be considered phonorecords. Phonorecords by definition do not include the sounds of audiovisual works, such as motion picture sounds.
A copyright notice has three components:
•The copyright symbol: ©
•The first year of publication
•The name of the copyright owner
These notices are not required for any original works published on or after March 1, 1989. However, the notice does afford the copyright owner some legal benefits.
The term document simply refers to any papers regarding the copyright ownership or anything involving copyrights. For the public record, these documents can be recorded in the U.S. Copyright Offices.
Publishing work means distributing phonorecords or copies to the public via a transfer of ownership. The transfer can occur through sale, rental, lending or lease. Publication includes any situations where you distribute copies to others with the intention of public display, further distribution or public performance. However, a public display or performance of a work doesn’t constitute publication on its own.
Deposits are phonorecords, copies or original works that are filed with the U.S. Copyright Office to substantiate your claim or copyright. These deposits can also be used to meet the 1976 Copyright Act’s requirement for a mandatory deposit. After making a deposit, the work becomes public record and the Library of Congress may select the work for its collections.
Certificate of Registration
Your Certificate of Registration is an official document stating a particular copyright is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. As long as your claim is registered within five years of the initial publication date, the facts on the certificate are accepted as self-evident unless otherwise proven false.
Recordation refers to official copyright documents filed with the U.S. Copyright Office. These documents may regard actions such as grant of security interest or the transfer of copyright ownership rights. Recordation makes the facts of the filed document public record and is required to have the signature of the acting party. In the absence of this signature, the document must have a sworn or otherwise official certification stating it is an authentic copy of the signed document.
Sound recordings are works resulting from a series of fixed sounds, regardless of the nature of the material objects (i.e., CDs, vinyl, etc.). Sound recordings exclude audiovisual works and motion picture sounds. Copyright for sound recordings only refers to a particular recording and doesn’t include the literary, musical or dramatic rights of the recording. This work may be registered separately. Remember, before you officially file anything, consider working with an attorney.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.