Protect Your Work - What You Should Know About Copyrights

Copyrights protect original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium—what does that even mean? Simply put, whether you have written a book, recorded a song or movie, created a dance routine, or composed a musical, once it is recorded in some way, the work is yours, and it is protected from being copied by others. Works protectable by copyright include:

  • Books, poems, computer software
  • Songs, written music, recorded sounds
  • Plays and musicals
  • Movies, video games
  • Paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, clothing designs
  • Blueprints and diagrams
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works

Works that are not protected by copyright:

  • Anything not in writing, recorded, or captured electronically (including ideas and concepts)
  • Names, slogans, colors
  • Works that do not contain original authorship (i.e. metric measurement charts)
  • Works in the public domain (including works whose copyrights have expired)
  • Works created by the US Government

Although copyright protection attaches at the moment your work is fixed or recorded, it is strongly encouraged that you also consider registering the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. The benefits of registration include receiving a Certificate of Registration, placing the public on notice of your copyright, and allowing you to bring a lawsuit and collect statutory damages in the event someone infringes upon your copyright.

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