8/18/2017

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Copyrights
by John M. Roberts

Question: What is a copyright?

Answer: A copyright is a package of legal rights that protect the works of authors, composers, artists, musicians, producers, and others from being used, reproduced, or performed, without their consent.

Question: What works are normally copyrighted?

Copyrights are placed on both published and unpublished works, such as music, poetry, lyrics, books, art, sculptures, advertisements, radio programs, television programs, photographs, and motion pictures.

Question: If something has a copyright on it, who can use it?

Answer: The owner of the copyrighted material has the right to use or reproduce it, sell it, lend it to others to use, or license it to others through a contract.

Question: When does a copyright go into effect?

Answer: Under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, a copyright goes into effect upon creation of a work and lasts for the life of the work's creator, plus fifty years.

The provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976 went into effect after January 1, 1978. Works published prior to 1978 were listed under the old copyright laws which held that a copyright lasted or endured for 28 years and might be extended for another 28 years totally 56 years altogether.

Question: Should a copyright symbol be placed on works that are used in the public domain?

Answer: The copyright is lost unless a subscribed copyright notice is placed on it at the time the work is placed in the public domain.

The word "Copyright" or the abbreviation "Copr" or the copyright symbol should accompany the work along with the the creator's name and the year of the first publication.

Question: By placing the word "copyright" on a work, is it then fully protected under copyright law?

Answer: A work is not fully protected until a copyright claim has been filed with t he copyright office in Washington, D.C. A claimant must fill out an application, pay a fee, and send in two copies of his work which is then placed in the Library of Congress.

The sooner the application for a copyright is filed, the better it is for the the claimant.

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