US Copyright Law Reflects The Beliefs of Our Founding Fathers
In the 1700s, the Constitution gave Congress the following authority:
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.”
As far back as the creation of our country, our founding fathers believed that creators of original work should have the exclusive right to control that work, even if for a limited time. Historians tell us that this provision intended to encourage creativity and innovation by giving creators an opportunity to benefit from their hard work.
US laws have changed since the 1700s, but our country still holds the values it did back then. Copyright laws provide the rules under which photographers, writers, and other creative professionals can retain control over their work.
As technology has changed, so have the laws. With social media, the internet, and the ability to instantly share things with millions of people, copyright and intellectual property rights are more complicated than they were 200 years ago. But the central value remains the same- the creator of original work should retain control over its use.
What Does it Mean to Hold a Copyright?
A copyright automatically vests to the creator or author of an original piece of work. In this context, an author includes the creator of books, photographs, poetry, songs, and other creative work.
Copyright gives the exclusive right to do five things:
- Display it to the public
- Perform it
- Reproduce it
- Distribute copies of it
- Create derivatives of it
Copyright means that you control what happens to the work you create.
You can hold on to that control, or you can permit others to use it, usually for compensation.
Copyright Law Means You Can Give Others Permission to Use Your Work
You can decide, in addition to your terms of compensation, how the work gets used, for how long, in what location, and by what entity.
Copyright Vests Automatically to Ensure Authors Receive Legal Protection
The value of ownership over creative work is so important in this country that the laws make copyright automatic. As long as the work is:
- and fixed.
It is not difficult to meet these criteria, and when you do, you automatically have copyright. There is no need to do anything else.
However, filing your copyright is a good idea, in case a legal dispute arises in the future. Registering your copyright can help you obtain the maximum statutory damages.
Contact Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC, if Someone is Violating Your Copyright or License Contract
If you think someone is using your creative, original work without permission or is violating the terms of your licensing agreement, contact our copyright lawyers at Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC, immediately.
Call us today at 800-778-1660 for a free evaluation of your copyright infringement case.