Skip to content

The fundamentals of Copyrights – Registration and Duration

Although many types of "creative" and "original" Works are deemed to have copyright protection from the moment that the Work is created and "fixed in any tangible place", in order for the owner of the copyright to receive greater rights and increase his or her 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 Online Copyright Registration Symbol has been infringed upon by a third party. One should seek legal advice before trying to get registering a copyrighted Work, as it should be determined whether the Job is copyrightable, i.e. the kind of Work for which a registration can be purchased. Simply applying to register a copyright does not necessarily mean the work in real question is copyrightable.

The duration of copyrights varies from what type perform is in question as well as when it originated or registered. A work that was created on or after January 1, 1978 is protected for the time it is created, usually for that author's life plus 70 years after the author's death. For "a joint work prepared by two or more authors who don't work for hire," the term stands 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 phrase of copyright due to 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 meant for hire" is one prepared by the employee within the scope of his or her employment probably a work specially ordered or commissioned a number of types of use use such being a contribution to a collective work, a facet of a movie or other audiovisual work, a translation, a supplementary work, a compilation or perhaps an instructional text if the parties agree documented instrument that perform will be considered a work since then hire.

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

As with other areas of Copyright and Intellectual Property Law, it is far better consult with your lawyer that specializes of this type. A number of law schools offer what is known as a Masters of Intellectual Property degree and the advice of an attorney with this amount of scholarship can be essential from the minute a work is actually created all the way through the enforcement or recovery just about any infringement.

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and readers are encouraged to consult a qualified attorney regarding these tips.