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Copyright protection or intellectual property protection is provided to “original works of authorship” in Title 17 of The United States Code and in the Berne Convention, an international copyright protection treaty among member nations.


Copyright protection, or intellectual property protection, provides specific legal rights. Intellectual property protection rights prohibit protected works covered by copyright protection from being sold, copied, or otherwise reproduced without the permission of the copyright protection holder.


The law provides for:


  1. Copyright protection for literary works;
  2. Copyright protection for musical works, including any accompanying words
  3. Copyright protection for dramatic works, including any accompanying music
  4. Copyright protection for pantomimes and choreographic works
  5. Copyright protection for pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  6. Copyright protection for motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  7. Copyright protection for sound recordings
  8. Copyright protection for architectural works


Copyright protection or intellection property protection is also extended to “new media” including digital creations.


According to the U.S. Copyright protection laws, these works are not eligible for intellectual property protection:


  1. Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (for example, choreographic works that have not been notated or recorded, or improvisational speeches or performances that have not been written or recorded).

  2. Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents.

  3. Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration.

  4. Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources).


U.S. Copyright protection and intellectual property protection laws are reviewed and amended as necessary. These laws date back to July 17, 1790 when George Washington signed the first Copyright protection  law entitled: “An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned.”


Intellectual property protection for works created on or after January 1, 1978 is granted for the period of the author’s life plus an additional 70 years after death.


For joint works, copyright protection runs for the lifetime of the last surviving author plus an additional 70 years after death.


There are complex rules pertaining to copyright protection for work created prior to January 1, 1978, as well as for other specific types of work. You can learn more about these intellectual property protection exceptions by reading the Duration of Copyright details at the U.S. Copyright Office web site.


If you are thinking about intellectual property protection, there are enough complexities in the Copyright protection laws that you should seek intellectual property protection help from World Copyright Center where you can take advantage of their unique Stamp’n’Lock™ system that helps substantiate your copyright protection claims and enforce your intellectual property protection rights.
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