Key Harrington Barnes, PC

Basics of copyright law

Texas residents sometimes wish to seek protection for their intellectual property by securing a copyright. A copyright is a protection that is granted to authors of original material under the 1976 Copyright Act. The material that may be copyrighted can include literature, music, art, choreographed dance, dramatic works and other intellectual works.

By securing a copyright, the author of copyrighted material can maintain legal control over the reproduction, distribution and performance of the material. Authors will also have control over any public display of the material or preparation of derivative works that are based on the original material. Although registering intellectual property in the Copyright Office is beneficial, there is no requirement to do so. Once original material is written down, recorded or otherwise copied onto a physical object, a copyright is secured automatically.

There are some works that are not eligible for a copyright by the original author. For instance, if material is created by an employee as part of their employment, the employer is considered to be the author of the material. Furthermore, items that are commissioned for use as part of a larger project would be considered the intellectual property of the party that commissioned the work. If two or more authors complete an original work together, they are considered co-owners of a copyright.

In the business world, lawsuits can sometimes arise when a company believes that another party has violated a copyright they own. Copyrighted material subject to litigation could include intellectual property like trade secrets, formulas or techniques. A business owner who has become involved in a copyright dispute might want to seek representation from a business and commercial law attorney.

Source: Copyright, "What Is Not Protected by Copyright?", December 08, 2014

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