knowledge base.

What is copyright?

A copyright is a type of intellectual property that protects creative works!
There are many types of works covered by copyright including, but not limited to, illustrations, paintings, sound recordings, computer programs, movies, books, and paintings.
Copyright often intersects with other types of intellectual property, like patents (inventions) and trademarks (branding).  But that’s an explanation for another time!


What does a copyright do?

Copyrights grant their owners the exclusive right to distribute, adapts, copy, display, and perform a creative work for a limited time.

Copyright protection provides owners with the right to reproduce the work, create derivatives of the work, distribute the work, perform the work publicly, and display the work publicly.  While copyright protection is granted the moment the work is created, only through a copyright registration can an individual pursue a suit in federal court.


How do I get copyright protection?

To qualify as a copyright, the original work must be fixed on a tangible form of expression, meaning that the work of art can be reproduced, perceived, or communicated.  Originality requires that the work of art is unique and creative.  There’s a pretty low bar for what qualifies as “original,” though it is a term of art for determining whether something can receive copyright protection.


Do I have to file for copyright protection?

Copyright protection is pretty interesting in that it automatically applies once the work is created.  That’s a fancy way of saying that as soon as you put that pen to paper, or as soon as you hit record on your video, you are creating a copyright.  Pretty cool!

However, to enforce on whatever you created, or to prove that you created it, you have more options if you take the next step and file for copyright protection.

Author: Jacob Salit.

Still have questions? Let's talk!

More insights: