Copyrights 101: Reviewing the rules of protecting original works

A copyright is a type of intellectual property which protects original artistic or literary works that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression, meaning that the work is sufficiently permanent to last for more than a transitory period of time (17 U.S.C. §101). A copyright protects books, photos, music, fine art, videos, films, recordings, and architecture, for example. A copyright does not protect ideas, procedures, processes, systems, methods of operation, concepts, principles, or discoveries because these matters are not fixed in a tangible medium of expression as required under the statute. A copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. For works created by two or more authors, the copyright exists for 70 years after the death of the last surviving author. For works for hire, anonymous works, and pseudonymous works, the copyright exists for 95 years from the date of the first publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.…

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