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Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution. This is usually only for a limited time. The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use.
Copyright is a form of intellectual property, applicable to certain forms of creative work. Under US copyright law, legal protection attaches only to fixed representations in a tangible medium. It is often shared among multiple authors, each of whom holds a set of rights to use or license the work, and who are commonly referred to as rightsholders. These rights frequently include reproduction, control over derivative works, distribution, public performance, and "moral rights" such as attribution.
Copyrights are considered territorial rights, which means that they do not extend beyond the territory of a specific jurisdiction. While many aspects of national copyright laws have been standardized through international copyright agreements, copyright laws vary by country.
Typically, the duration of a copyright spans the author's life plus 50 to 100 years (that is, copyright typically expires 50 to 100 years after the author dies, depending on the jurisdiction). Some countries require certain copyright formalities to establishing copyright, but most recognize copyright in any completed work, without formal registration. Generally, copyright is enforced as a civil matter, though some jurisdictions do apply criminal sanctions.
Most jurisdictions recognize copyright limitations, allowing "fair" exceptions to the creator's exclusivity of copyright and giving users certain rights. The development of digital media and computer network technologies have prompted reinterpretation of these exceptions, introduced new difficulties in enforcing copyright, and inspired additional challenges to copyright law's philosophic basis. Simultaneously, businesses with great economic dependence upon copyright, such as those in the music business, have advocated the extension and expansion of copyright and sought additional legal and technological enforcement.
- History 1
- Scope 2
- Exceptions to Copyright 3
Obtaining and enforcing copyright 4
- Cost of enforcing copyright 4.1
- Copyright notices in the United States 4.2
- "Poor man's copyright" 4.3
- Exclusive rights 5
Limitations and exceptions to copyright 6
- Idea–expression dichotomy and the merger doctrine 6.1
- The first-sale doctrine and exhaustion of rights 6.2
- Fair use and fair dealing 6.3
- Accessible copies 6.4
Transfer and licensing, and assignment 7
- Free licences 7.1
- Copyright term 8.1
- Public domain 8.2
- Copyright infringement 9
See also 10
- Treaties and international agreements 10.1
- Alternate views 10.2
- References 11
- Further reading 12
- External links 13
Copyright came about with the invention of the printing press and with wider literacy. As a legal concept, its origins in Britain were from a reaction to printers' monopolies at the beginning of the 18th century. Charles II of England was concerned by the unregulated copying of books and passed the Licensing of the Press Act 1662 by Act of Parliament, which established a register of licensed books and required a copy to be deposited with the Stationers' Company, essentially continuing the licensing of material that had long been in effect.
The British Statute of Anne (1710) further alluded to individual rights of the artist. It began, "Whereas Printers, Booksellers, and other Persons, have of late frequently taken the Liberty of Printing... Books, and other Writings, without the Consent of the Authors... to their very great Detriment, and too often to the Ruin of them and their Families:". A right to benefit financially from the work is articulated, and court rulings and legislation have recognized a right to control the work, such as ensuring that the integrity of it is preserved. An irrevocable right to be recognized as the work's creator appears in some countries' copyright laws.
Copyright laws allow products of creative human activities, such as literary and artistic production, to be preferentially exploited and thus incentivized. Different cultural attitudes, social organizations, economic models and legal frameworks are seen to account for why copyright emerged in capitalism led to the commodification of many aspects of social life that earlier had no monetary or economic value per se.
The Statute of Anne was the first real copyright act, and gave the publishers rights for a fixed period, after which the copyright expired. Copyright has grown from a legal concept regulating copying rights in the publishing of books and maps to one with a significant effect on nearly every modern industry, covering such items as sound recordings, films, photographs, software, and architectural works.Prior to the passage of the United States Constitution, several states passed their own copyright laws between 1783 and 1787, the first being Connecticut. Contemporary scholars and patriots such as Noah Webster, John Trumbull (poet), and Joel Barlow were instrumental in securing the passage of these statutes.
The Copyright Clause of the United States Constitution (1787) authorized copyright legislation: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." That is, by guaranteeing them a period of time in which they alone could profit from their works, they would be enabled and encouraged to invest the time required to create them, and this would be good for society as a whole. A right to profit from the work has been the philosophical underpinning for much legislation extending the duration of copyright, to the life of the creator and beyond, to their heirs.
The original length of copyright in the United States was 14 years, and it had to be explicitly applied for. If the author wished, they could apply for a second 14‑year monopoly grant, but after that the work entered the public domain, so it could be used and built upon by others.
Thomas Jefferson, who strongly advocated the ability of the public to share and build upon the works of others, proposed as part of the Bill of Rights that a short timespan be protected:
- Art. 9. Monopolies may be allowed to persons for their own productions in literature and their own inventions in the arts for a term not exceeding – years but for no longer term and no other purpose.
Copyright law was enacted rather late in German states, and the historian Eckhard Höffner argues that the absence of copyright laws in the early 19th century encouraged publishing, was profitable for authors, led to a proliferation of books, enhanced knowledge, and was ultimately an important factor in the ascendency of Germany as a power during that century.
The 1886 Berne Convention first established recognition of copyrights among sovereign nations, rather than merely bilaterally. Under the Berne Convention, copyrights for creative works do not have to be asserted or declared, as they are automatically in force at creation: an author need not "register" or "apply for" a copyright in countries adhering to the Berne Convention. As soon as a work is "fixed", that is, written or recorded on some physical medium, its author is automatically entitled to all copyrights in the work, and to any derivative works unless and until the author explicitly disclaims them, or until the copyright expires. The Berne Convention also resulted in foreign authors being treated equivalently to domestic authors, in any country signed onto the Convention. The UK signed the Berne Convention in 1887 but did not implement large parts of it until 100 years later with the passage of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988. The United States did not sign the Berne Convention until 1989.
The United States and most Latin American countries instead entered into the Buenos Aires Convention in 1910, which required a copyright notice on the work (such as all rights reserved), and permitted signatory nations to limit the duration of copyrights to shorter and renewable terms. The Universal Copyright Convention was drafted in 1952 as another less demanding alternative to the Berne Convention, and ratified by nations such as the Soviet Union and developing nations.
The regulations of the WIPO Copyright Treaty enacted greater restrictions on the use of technology to copy works in the nations that ratified it.
Copyright may apply to a wide range of creative, intellectual, or artistic forms, or "works". Specifics vary by jurisdiction, but these can include poems, theses, plays and other literary works, motion pictures, choreography, musical compositions, sound recordings, paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, computer software, radio and television broadcasts, and industrial designs. Graphic designs and industrial designs may have separate or overlapping laws applied to them in some jurisdictions.
Copyright does not cover ideas and information themselves, only the form or manner in which they are expressed. For example, the copyright to a Mickey Mouse cartoon restricts others from making copies of the cartoon or creating derivative works based on Disney's particular anthropomorphic mouse, but does not prohibit the creation of other works about anthropomorphic mice in general, so long as they are different enough to not be judged copies of Disney's. Note additionally that Mickey Mouse is not copyrighted because characters cannot be copyrighted; rather, Steamboat Willie is copyrighted and Mickey Mouse, as a character in that copyrighted work, is afforded protection.
In many jurisdictions, copyright law makes exceptions to these restrictions when the work is copied for the purpose of commentary or other related uses (See fair use, fair dealing). It should be noted that US copyright does NOT cover names, title, short phrases or Listings (such as ingredients, recipes, labels, or formulas). However, there are protections available for those areas copyright does not cover – such as trademarks and patents.
Copyright laws are standardized somewhat through international conventions such as the World Trade Organization require their member states to comply with them.
Exceptions to Copyright
There are some exceptions to what copyright will protect. Copyright will not protect
- Names of products
- Names of businesses, organizations, or groups
- Pseudonyms of individuals
- Titles of Works
- Catchwords, catchphrases, mottoes, slogans, or short advertising expressions
- Listings of ingredients in recipes, labels, and formulas. (The directions can be copyrighted)
Obtaining and enforcing copyright
Typically, a work must meet minimal standards of originality in order to qualify for copyright, and the copyright expires after a set period of time (some jurisdictions may allow this to be extended). Different countries impose different tests, although generally the requirements are low; in the United Kingdom there has to be some "skill, labour, and judgment" that has gone into it. In Australia and the United Kingdom it has been held that a single word is insufficient to comprise a copyright work. However, single words or a short string of words can sometimes be registered as a trademark instead.
Copyright law recognizes the right of an author based on whether the work actually is an original creation, rather than based on whether it is unique; two authors may own copyright on two substantially identical works, if it is determined that the duplication was coincidental, and neither was copied from the other.
In all countries where the Berne Convention standards apply, copyright is automatic, and need not be obtained through official registration with any government office. Once an idea has been reduced to tangible form, for example by securing it in a fixed medium (such as a drawing, sheet music, photograph, a videotape, or a computer file), the copyright holder is entitled to enforce his or her exclusive rights. However, while registration isn't needed to exercise copyright, in jurisdictions where the laws provide for registration, it serves as prima facie evidence of a valid copyright and enables the copyright holder to seek statutory damages and attorney's fees. (In the USA, registering after an infringement only enables one to receive actual damages and lost profits.)
The original holder of the copyright may be the employer of the author rather than the author himself, if the work is a "work for hire". For example, in English law the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 provides that if a copyrighted work is made by an employee in the course of that employment, the copyright is automatically owned by the employer which would be a "Work for Hire."
Copyrights are generally enforced by the holder in a civil law court, but there are also criminal infringement statutes in some jurisdictions. While central registries are kept in some countries which aid in proving claims of ownership, registering does not necessarily prove ownership, nor does the fact of copying (even without permission) necessarily prove that copyright was infringed. Criminal sanctions are generally aimed at serious counterfeiting activity, but are now becoming more commonplace as copyright collectives such as the RIAA are increasingly targeting the file sharing home Internet user. Thus far, however, most such cases against file sharers have been settled out of court. (See: Legal aspects of file sharing)
Cost of enforcing copyright
In most jurisdictions the copyright holder must bear the cost of enforcing copyright. This will usually involve engaging legal representation, administrative and or court costs. In light of this, many copyright disputes are settled by a direct approach to the infringing party in order to settle the dispute out of court.
Copyright notices in the United States
Before 1989, the use of a copyright notice – consisting of the copyright symbol (©, the letter C inside a circle), the abbreviation "Copr.", or the word "Copyright", followed by the year of the first publication of the work and the name of the copyright holder – was part of U. S. statutory requirements. Several years may be noted if the work has gone through substantial revisions. The proper copyright notice for sound recordings of musical or other audio works is a sound recording copyright symbol (℗, the letter P inside a circle), which indicates a sound recording copyright, with the letter P indicating a "phonorecord". In addition, the phrase All rights reserved was once required to assert copyright.
In 1989 the United States enacted the Berne Convention Implementation Act, amending the 1976 Copyright Act to conform to most of the provisions of the Berne Convention. As a result, the use of copyright notices has become optional to claim copyright, because the Berne Convention makes copyright automatic. However, the lack of notice of copyright using these marks may have consequences in terms of reduced damages in an infringement lawsuit – using notices of this form may reduce the likelihood of a defense of "innocent infringement" being successful.
"Poor man's copyright"
A widely circulated strategy to avoid the cost of copyright registration is referred to as the "poor man's copyright". It proposes that the creator send the work to himself in a sealed envelope by registered mail, using the postmark to establish the date. This technique has not been recognized in any published opinions of the United States courts. The United States Copyright Office makes it clear that the technique is no substitute for actual registration. The United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office discusses the technique and notes that the technique (as well as commercial registries) does not constitute dispositive proof that the work is original nor who the creator of the work is.
Several exclusive rights typically attach to the holder of a copyright:
- to produce copies or reproductions of the work and to sell those copies (including, typically, electronic copies)
- to import or export the work
- to create derivative works (works that adapt the original work)
- to perform or display the work publicly
- to sell or cede these rights to others
- to transmit or display by radio or video.
The phrase "exclusive right" means that only the copyright holder is free to exercise those rights, and others are prohibited from using the work without the holder's permission. Copyright is sometimes called a "negative right", as it serves to prohibit certain people (e.g., readers, viewers, or listeners, and primarily publishers and would be publishers) from doing something they would otherwise be able to do, rather than permitting people (e.g., authors) to do something they would otherwise be unable to do. In this way it is similar to the unregistered design right in English law and European law. The rights of the copyright holder also permit him/her to not use or exploit their copyright, for some or all of the term. There is, however, a critique which rejects this assertion as being based on a philosophical interpretation of copyright law that is not universally shared. There is also debate on whether copyright should be considered a property right or a moral right.
If a pictorial, graphic or sculptural work is a useful article, it is copyrighted only if its aesthetic features are separable from its utilitarian features. A useful article is an article having an intrinsic utilitarian function that is not merely to portray the appearance of the article or to convey information. They must be separable from the functional aspect to be copyrighted.
Limitations and exceptions to copyright
Idea–expression dichotomy and the merger doctrine
The idea–expression divide differentiates between ideas and expression, and states that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, and not the ideas themselves. This principle, first clarified in the 1879 case of Baker v. Selden, has since been codified by the Copyright Act of 1976 at 17 U.S.C. § 102(b).
The first-sale doctrine and exhaustion of rights
Copyright law does not restrict the owner of a copy from reselling legitimately obtained copies of copyrighted works, provided that those copies were originally produced by or with the permission of the copyright holder. It is therefore legal, for example, to resell a copyrighted book or CD. In the United States this is known as the first-sale doctrine, and was established by the courts to clarify the legality of reselling books in second-hand bookstores.
Some countries may have parallel importation restrictions that allow the copyright holder to control the aftermarket. This may mean for example that a copy of a book that does not infringe copyright in the country where it was printed does infringe copyright in a country into which it is imported for retailing. The first-sale doctrine is known as exhaustion of rights in other countries and is a principle which also applies, though somewhat differently, to patent and trademark rights. It is important to note that the first-sale doctrine permits the transfer of the particular legitimate copy involved. It does not permit making or distributing additional copies.
In Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., in 2013, the United States Supreme Court held in a 6-3 decision that the first-sale doctrine applies to goods manufactured abroad with the copyright owner's permission and then imported into the US without such permission. The case involved a plaintiff who imported Asian editions of textbooks that had been manufactured abroad with the publisher-plaintiff's permission. The defendant, without permission from the publisher, imported the textbooks and resold on eBay. The Supreme Court's holding severely limits the ability of copyright holders to prevent such importation.
In addition, copyright, in most cases, does not prohibit one from acts such as modifying, defacing, or destroying his or her own legitimately obtained copy of a copyrighted work, so long as duplication is not involved. However, in countries that implement moral rights, a copyright holder can in some cases successfully prevent the mutilation or destruction of a work that is publicly visible.
Fair use and fair dealing
Copyright does not prohibit all copying or replication. In the United States, the fair use doctrine, codified by the Copyright Act of 1976 as 17 U.S.C. Section 107, permits some copying and distribution without permission of the copyright holder or payment to same. The statute does not clearly define fair use, but instead gives four non-exclusive factors to consider in a fair use analysis. Those factors are:
- the purpose and character of one's use
- the nature of the copyrighted work
- what amount and proportion of the whole work was taken, and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
In the United Kingdom and many other Commonwealth countries, a similar notion of fair dealing was established by the courts or through legislation. The concept is sometimes not well defined; however in Canada, private copying for personal use has been expressly permitted by statute since 1999. In Alberta (Education) v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright), 2012 SCC 37, the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that limited copying for educational purposes could also be justified under the fair dealing exemption. In Australia, the fair dealing exceptions under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) are a limited set of circumstances under which copyrighted material can be legally copied or adapted without the copyright holder's consent. Fair dealing uses are research and study; review and critique; news reportage and the giving of professional advice (i.e. legal advice). Under current Australian law it is still a breach of copyright to copy, reproduce or adapt copyright material for personal or private use without permission from the copyright owner. Other technical exemptions from infringement may also apply, such as the temporary reproduction of a work in machine readable form for a computer.
In the United States the AHRA (Audio Home Recording Act Codified in Section 10, 1992) prohibits action against consumers making noncommercial recordings of music, in return for royalties on both media and devices plus mandatory copy-control mechanisms on recorders.
- Section 1008. Prohibition on certain infringement actions
- No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.
Later acts amended US Copyright law so that for certain purposes making 10 copies or more is construed to be commercial, but there is no general rule permitting such copying. Indeed, making one complete copy of a work, or in many cases using a portion of it, for commercial purposes will not be considered fair use. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act prohibits the manufacture, importation, or distribution of devices whose intended use, or only significant commercial use, is to bypass an access or copy control put in place by a copyright owner. An appellate court has held that fair use is not a defense to engaging in such distribution.
The copyright directive allows EU member states to implement a set of exceptions to copyright. Examples of those exceptions are:
- photographic reproductions on paper or any similar medium of works (excluding sheet music) provided that the rightholders receives fair compensation,
- reproduction made by libraries, educational establishments, museums or archives, which are non-commercial
- archival reproductions of broadcasts,
- uses for the benefit of people with a disability,
- for demonstration or repair of equipment,
- for non-commercial research or private study
- when used in parody
It is legal in several countries including the United Kingdom and the United States to produce alternative versions (for example, in large print or braille) of a copyrighted work to provide improved access to a work for blind and visually impaired persons without permission from the copyright holder.
Transfer and licensing, and assignment
A copyright, or aspects of it, may be assigned or transferred from one party to another. For example, a musician who records an album will often sign an agreement with a record company in which the musician agrees to transfer all copyright in the recordings in exchange for royalties and other considerations. The creator (and original copyright holder) benefits, or expects to, from production and marketing capabilities far beyond those of the author. In the digital age of music, music may be copied and distributed at minimal cost through the Internet, however the record industry attempts to provide promotion and marketing for the artist and his or her work so it can reach a much larger audience. A copyright holder need not transfer all rights completely, though many publishers will insist. Some of the rights may be transferred, or else the copyright holder may grant another party a non-exclusive license to copy and/or distribute the work in a particular region or for a specified period of time.
A transfer or licence may have to meet particular formal requirements in order to be effective, for example under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 the copyright itself must be expressly transferred in writing. Under the U.S. Copyright Act, a transfer of ownership in copyright must be memorialized in a writing signed by the transferor. For that purpose, ownership in copyright includes exclusive licenses of rights. Thus exclusive licenses, to be effective, must be granted in a written instrument signed by the grantor. No special form of transfer or grant is required. A simple document that identifies the work involved and the rights being granted is sufficient. Non-exclusive grants (often called non-exclusive licenses) need not be in writing under U.S. law. They can be oral or even implied by the behavior of the parties. Transfers of copyright ownership, including exclusive licenses, may and should be recorded in the U.S. Copyright Office. (Information on recording transfers is available on the Office's web site.) While recording is not required to make the grant effective, it offers important benefits, much like those obtained by recording a deed in a real estate transaction.
Copyright may also be ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC) have been formed to collect royalties for hundreds (thousands and more) works at once. Though this market solution bypasses the statutory license, the availability of the statutory fee still helps dictate the price per work collective rights organizations charge, driving it down to what avoidance of procedural hassle would justify.
There are a large number of free licenses, where users are granted several rights; for example, those mentioned in the Free Software Definition, Open Source Definition, Debian Free Software Guidelines or Definition of Free Cultural Works. Examples of free licences are the GNU General Public License, BSD license and some Creative Commons licenses.
Founded in 2001, by
- Quotations related to Copyright at Wikiquote
- Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
- Copyright at DMOZ
- Collection of laws for electronic access from WIPO – intellectual property laws of many countries
- Compendium of Copyright Practices (3rd ed.) United States Copyright Office
- Copyright from UCB Libraries GovPubs
- About Copyright at the UK Intellectual Property Office
- A Bibliography on the Origins of Copyright and Droit d'Auteur
- 6.912 Introduction to Copyright Law taught by Keith Winstein, MIT OpenCourseWare January IAP 2006
- Copyright Berne Convention: Country List List of the 164 members of the Berne Convention for the protection of literary and artistic works
- UK Copyright Law fact sheet (April 2000) a concise introduction to UK Copyright legislation
- IPR Toolkit – An Overview, Key Issues and Toolkit Elements (September 2009) by Professor Charles Oppenheim and Naomi Korn at the Strategic Content Alliance
- MIT OpenCourseWare 6.912 Introduction to Copyright Law Free self-study course with video lectures as offered during the January 2006, Independent Activities Period (IAP)
- Early Copyright Records From the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress
- [copyright.gov/circs/circ34.pdf] Copyright Not Available for Names, Titles, or Short Phrases.
Library resources about
- Ellis, Sara R. Copyrighting Couture: An Examination of Fashion Design Protection and Why the DPPA and IDPPPA are a Step Towards the Solution to Counterfeit Chic, 78 Tenn. L. Rev. 163 (2010), available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1735745.
- Ghosemajumder, Shuman. Advanced Peer-Based Technology Business Models. MIT Sloan School of Management, 2002.
- Lehman, Bruce: Intellectual Property and the National Information Infrastructure (Report of the Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights, 1995)
- Lindsey, Marc: Copyright Law on Campus. Washington State University Press, 2003. ISBN 978-0-87422-264-7.
- Mazzone, Jason. Copyfraud. SSRN
- McDonagh, Luke. Is Creative use of Musical Works without a licence acceptable under Copyright? International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law (IIC) 4 (2012) 401-426, available at SSRN
- Rife, by Martine Courant. Convention, Copyright, and Digital Writing (Southern Illinois University Press; 2013) 222 pages; Examines legal, pedagogical, and other aspects of online authorship.
- Shipley, David E. Thin But Not Anorexic: Copyright Protection for Compilations and Other Fact Works UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-001; Journal of Intellectual Property Law, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2007.
- Silverthorne, Sean. Music Downloads: Pirates- or Customers?. Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, 2004.
- Sorce Keller, Marcello. "Originality, Authenticity and Copyright", Sonus, VII(2007), no. 2, pp. 77–85.
- WhyNotAskMe.org: Organization demanding democratic participation in copyright legislation and a moratorium on secret and fast-tracked copyright negotiations
- The Berne Convention allows member countries to decide whether creative works must be "fixed" to enjoy copyright. Article 2, Section 2 of the Berne Convention states: "It shall be a matter for legislation in the countries of the Union to prescribe that works in general or any specified categories of works shall not be protected unless they have been fixed in some material form." Some countries do not require that a work be produced in a particular form to obtain copyright protection. For instance, Spain, France, and Australia do not require fixation for copyright protection. The United States and Canada, on the other hand, require that the work be "fixed in a tangible medium of expression" to obtain copyright protection. U.S. law requires that the fixation be stable and permanent enough to be "perceived, reproduced or communicated for a period of more than transitory duration." Similarly, Canadian courts consider fixation to require that the work be "expressed to some extent at least in some material form, capable of identification and having a more or less permanent endurance." Harvard Law School, The Scope of Copyright Law.
- Copyright in Historical Perspective, p. 136-137, Patterson, 1968, Vanderbilt Univ. Press
- Bettig, Ronald V. (1996). Copyrighting Culture: The Political Economy of Intellectual Property. Westview Press. p. 9–17. ISBN 0-8133-1385-6.
- Pelanda, Brian. Declarations of Cultural Independence: The Nationalistic Imperative Behind the Passage of Early American Copyright Laws, 1783–1787 58 Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. 431 (2011).
- Garfinkle, Ann M; Fries, Janet; Lopez, Daniel; Possessky, Laura (1997). "Art conservation and the legal obligation to preserve artistic intent". JAIC 36 (2): 165–179.
- "International Copyright Relations of the United States", U.S. Copyright Office Circular No. 38a, August 2003.
- Parties to the Geneva Act of the Universal Copyright Convention as of 2000-01-01: the dates given in the document are dates of ratification, not dates of coming into force. The Geneva Act came into force on 16 September 1955, for the first twelve to have ratified (which included four non-members of the Berne Union as required by Art. 9.1), or three months after ratification for other countries. Archived February 9, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- 165 Parties to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works as of May 2012.
- U.S. Copyright OfficeCopyright Protection Not Available for Names, Titles, or Short Phrases(2012)
- Express Newspaper Plc v News (UK) Plc, F.S.R. 36 (1991)
- 17 U.S.C. § 201(b); Cmty. for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730 (1989)
- Copyright Act of 1976, Pub.L. 94–553, 90 Stat. 2541, § 401(a) (19 October 1976)
- The Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988 (BCIA), Pub.L. 100–568, 102 Stat. 2853, 2857. One of the changes introduced by the BCIA was to section 401, which governs copyright notices on published copies, specifying that notices "may be placed on" such copies; prior to the BCIA, the statute read that notices "shall be placed on all" such copies. An analogous change was made in section 402, dealing with copyright notices on phonorecords.
- 17 U.S.C.§ 401(d)
- Copyright in General – "I've heard about a 'poor man's copyright.' What is it?", U.S Copyright Office
- "Copyright Registers", United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office
- "Automatic right", United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office
- Tom G. Palmer, "Are Patents and Copyrights Morally Justified?" Accessed 5 February 2013.
- Copyright Law of the USA, Chapter 1 Section 121
- Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002 (England)
- Rubin, R. E. (2010) 'Foundations of Library and Information Science: Third Edition', Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., New York, p. 341
- 17 U.S.C. § 305
- The Duration of Copyright and Rights in Performances Regulations 1995, part II, Amendments of the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
- "Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States.", Cornell University.
- See Peter B. Hirtle, "Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States 1 January 2015" online at footnote 8
- Lawrence Lessig, Copyright's First Amendment, 48 UCLA L. Rev. 1057, 1065 (2001)
- Butler, S. Piracy Losses "Billboard" 199(36)
- Alternative compensation system
- Copyright aspects of downloading and streaming
- Copyright aspects of hyperlinking and framing
- Creative Commons
- Creative Commons jurisdiction ports
- Creative Commons license
- Database right
- Digital rights
- Free Culture, a 2004 book by Lawrence Lessig
- Good Copy Bad Copy (documentary)
- Permission culture – neologism by Lawrence Lessig
- Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works of 1886
- Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations of 1961
- Trans-Pacific Partnership
- Trans-Pacific Partnership Intellectual Property Provisions
- Universal Copyright Convention of 1952
- World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty of 1996
- WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty of 1996
- The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), of 1994
Treaties and international agreements
- Adelphi Charter
- Conflict of laws
- Copyright in architecture in the United States
- Copyright on the content of patents and in the context of patent prosecution
- Copyright for Creativity
- Copyright infringement of software
- Copyright on religious works
- Creative Barcode
- Digital rights management
- Digital watermarking
- Entertainment law
- Freedom of panorama
- History of copyright law
- Intellectual property education
- Intellectual property protection of typefaces
- List of Copyright Acts
- List of copyright case law
- List of parties to international copyright agreements
- Model release
- Photography and the law
- Pirate Party
- Private copying levy
- Production music
- Reproduction fees
- RiP!: A Remix Manifesto
- Software copyright
- Threshold pledge system
Copyright infringement most often occurs to software, film and music. However, infringement upon books and other text works remains common, especially for educational reasons. Statistics regarding the effects of copyright infringement are difficult to determine. Studies have attempted to determine whether there is a monetary loss for industries affected by copyright infringement by predicting what portion of pirated works would have been formally purchased if they had not been freely available. Other reports indicate that copyright infringement does not have an adverse effect on the entertainment industry, and can have a positive effect. In particular, a 2014 university study concluded that free music content, accessed on YouTube, does not necessarily hurt sales, instead has the potential to increase sales.
For a work to be considered to infringe upon copyright, its use must have occurred in a nation that has domestic copyright laws and/or adheres to a bilateral treaty or established international convention such as the WIPO Copyright Treaty. Improper use of materials outside of legislation is deemed "unauthorized edition", not copyright infringement.
Copyright, like other intellectual property rights, is subject to a statutorily determined term. Once the term of a copyright has expired, the formerly copyrighted work enters the public domain and may be freely used or exploited by anyone. Courts in common law countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, have rejected the doctrine of a common law copyright. Public domain works should not be confused with works that are publicly available. Works posted in the internet, for example, are publicly available, but are not generally in the public domain. Copying such works may therefore violate the author's copyright.
As a curiosity, the famous work Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up has a complex – and disputed – story of copyright expiry.
In 1998, the length of a copyright in the United States was increased by 20 years under the Copyright Term Extension Act. This legislation was strongly promoted by corporations which had valuable copyrights which otherwise would have expired, and has been the subject of substantial criticism on this point.
But if the intended exploitation of the work includes publication (or distribution of derivative work, such as a film based on a book protected by copyright) outside the U.S., the terms of copyright around the world must be considered. If the author has been dead more than 70 years, the work is in the public domain in most, but not all, countries.
In the United States, all books and other works published before 1923 have expired copyrights and are in the public domain. In addition, works published before 1964 that did not have their copyrights renewed 28 years after first publication year also are in the public domain. Hirtle points out that the great majority of these works (including 93% of the books) were not renewed after 28 years and are in the public domain. Books originally published outside the US by non-Americans are exempt from this renewal requirement, if they are still under copyright in their home country.
The length and requirements for copyright duration are subject to change by legislation, and since the early 20th century there have been a number of adjustments made in various countries, which can make determining the duration of a given copyright somewhat difficult. For example, the United States used to require copyrights to be renewed after 28 years to stay in force, and formerly required a copyright notice upon first publication to gain coverage. In Italy and France, there were post-wartime extensions that could increase the term by approximately 6 years in Italy and up to about 14 in France. Many countries have extended the length of their copyright terms (sometimes retroactively). International treaties establish minimum terms for copyrights, but individual countries may enforce longer terms than those.
Copyright subsists for a variety of lengths in different jurisdictions. The length of the term can depend on several factors, including the type of work (e.g. musical composition, novel), whether the work has been published, and whether the work was created by an individual or a corporation. In most of the world, the default length of copyright is the life of the author plus either 50 or 70 years. In the United States, the term for most existing works is a fixed number of years after the date of creation or publication. Under most countries' laws (for example, the United States and the United Kingdom), copyrights expire at the end of the calendar year in question.