Peloquin, PLLC - Intellectual Property Law...increasing your profits in today's market
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Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States, specifically Title 17 U.S. Code, to authors of original "works of authorship." "Works of authorship" include literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.

Copyright laws attempt to strike the optimal balance between the potentially conflicting public interests of encouraging creativity by giving exclusive property rights in creations, and fostering a competitive marketplace by giving the freest possible access to "works of authorship" and the ideas they encompass. The balance is struck in copyright by limiting the property right to the author's particular "method of expressing" an idea or information. A copyright never grants a right in the idea being expressed or in facts that an author may incorporate into his or her "work of authorship." Since the copyright grants a right in the creative way of expressing an idea and not the idea itself, the copyright is less of an intrusion on the competitive marketplace. Hence, the legal standards for obtaining a copyright are lower than those for obtaining a patent. To qualify for copyright protection, the work of authorship must contain a minimum amount of creativity.

Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of the copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the work in copies; to prepare derivative works based upon the work; to distribute copies or the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending and to perform the work publicly. The copyright owner can authorize others to exercise one or more of these exclusive rights.

It is illegal for anyone to violate any of the rights provided by the copyright law to the owner of the copyright. These rights are not unlimited in scope. In some cases these limitations are specific exemptions from copyright liability. One major limitation is the doctrine of "fair use," which is given a statutory basis in Section 107 of the 1976 Copyright Act. In other instances, the limitation takes the from of a "compulsory license" under which certain limited uses of copyright protected works are permitted upon payment of specified royalties and compliance with statutory conditions.

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