US Copyright

US Copyright

Copyright is a form of protection of intellectual property. It is used to retain the ownership rights of authors and does not take effect until the property has been worked into a tangible form of expression.

Some people make the mistake of concluding that copyrights is strictly for authors of written content. Some take it a bit further by saying the protection right only covers artistic creations and inventions. But again, this does not totally encompass the intellectual property covered by copyrights. The intellectual properties that are covered by the copyright law include architectural works, blog posts, illustrations, computer software, paintings, musical compositions, photographs, sound recordings, computer programs, books, poems, movies, plays, and so much more!

It is important to note that copyright does not protect intangible properties like facts, systems, methods of operation, or ideas. Some of those intangible properties can be protected through other intellectual property rights, such as patents, trademarks, design patents, etc.


US Copyright Registration

One aspect of copyright protection is its automatic nature. It is an automatic protection on the original work of an author. However, registering your copyright at the US Copyright Office offers additional protections and benefits not available from the automatic copyright.

For example, copyright registration is necessary if you wish to enforce your copyright through litigation. Moreover, a copyright holder with a registered copyright might be eligible for additional monetary damages and attorney fees in a successful lawsuit. Registering your copyright also serves notice to the public. This notice helps facilitate copyright licensing between copyright holders and potential licensees. And if you register your copyright within five years of publishing your work, US courts will presume that the information on the registration certificate is correct, making it more difficult for others to invalidate your copyright. Copyright registration also helps the copyright holder to prevent copyright infringers from importing counterfeit products or infringing products.


Scope of US Copyright Protection

Although this was not always the practice with copyright, under current US copyright law, the protection period of copyrights has been extended till the term of life of the author with an additional 70 years after the author’s death. And if the intellectual property was produced by the joint efforts of more than one person, then the term is extended until 70 years after the death of the last surviving partner. Meanwhile, in the case of jobs made for hire and anonymous or pseudonymous works, copyright protection is 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.

Another important part of US copyright laws is its wide applicability. Given US copyright relations with a lot of countries around the world, US copyrights are acknowledged in other countries just as the US acknowledges the rights of those of international authors.



To get started on your patent, trademark, or copyright application, email us at To consult a USPTO registered patent and trademark attorney, please visit


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