Fundamentals of Copyrights – Registration and Duration

Although many types of “creative” and “original” Works are deemed to have copyright protection from whenever that the Work is generated and “fixed in any tangible place”, in order for the owner of the copyright to receive greater rights and increase their own her ability to protect those rights the Work should be registered.

The United States Copyright Office is a division of the United States Department of Commerce. Registering with this office will greatly enhance the copyright owner’s ability to seek various types of damages if the copyright is infringed upon by an out of doors party. One should seek legal advice before trying to obtain registering a copyrighted Work, as it should be determined whether the Work is copyrightable, i.e. the kind of Work for which a registration can be purchased. Simply applying to register a copyright does not necessarily suggest that the work in question is copyrightable.

The duration of copyrights varies from what type of work is in question as well as when it was created or registered. A work that was created on or after January 1, 1978 is protected for the time it is created, usually for your author’s life plus 70 years when the author’s death. For “a joint work prepared by more than one authors who does not work for hire,” the term is actually for 70 years after the death of last surviving author.

The copyright term for works created and published or registered before January 1, 1978 could be the same as for all those created on or after January 1, 1978, namely, life of the author plus 70 years. The 95/120-year terms for works for hire apply to pre January 1, 1978 to these works also. However, the term of copyright of these works cannot expire before December 31, 2002. For works published on or before December 31, 2002, the term will not expire before December 31, 2047.

A “work produced for hire” is one prepared by the employee within the scope of his or her employment or a work specially ordered or commissioned for certain types of use use such as the contribution to a collective work, a part of a video or other audiovisual work, a translation, a supplementary work, a compilation and even instructional text in the event the parties agree written down instrument that function will be considered a work constantly hire.

The copyright term for works produced for hire and anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the author’s identity is revealed in Copyright Online Registration in India Office records) is either 95 years via the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.

As with all areas of Copyright and Intellectual Property Law, it is better to consult with an attorney that specializes in this field. A number of law schools offer what is because a Masters of Intellectual Property degree and the advice of an attorney with this regarding scholarship can be essential from the minute a work fabricated from all the way through the enforcement or recovery of any infringement.

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It can’t be construed as legal advice and readers are asked to consult a qualified attorney regarding these matters.

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