related topics
{law, state, case}
{work, book, publish}
{company, market, business}
{theory, work, human}
{system, computer, user}
{album, band, music}
{film, series, show}
{@card@, make, design}
{math, number, function}
{rate, high, increase}
{church, century, christian}

Copyright • Authors' rights • Related rights • Moral rights •
Patent • Utility model •
Trademark • Geographical indication •
Trade secret

Database right • Indigenous intellectual property • Industrial design right • Mask work • Plant breeders' rights • Supplementary protection certificate

Criticism • Orphan works • Public domain • more

Copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted by the law of a jurisdiction to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. Exceptions and limitations to these rights strive to balance the public interest in the wide distribution of the material produced and to encourage creativity. Exceptions include fair dealing and fair use, and such use does not require the permission of the copyright owner. All other uses require permission and copyright owners can license or permanently transfer or assign their exclusive rights to others.

Copyright does not protect ideas, only their expression or fixation. In most jurisdictions, copyright arises upon fixation and does not need to be registered. Copyright protection applies for a specific period of time, after which the work is said to enter the public domain.

The first copyright statute was the British Statute of Anne of 1709, the full title of which was: "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned". Copyright laws are partially standardized through international and regional agreements such as the Berne Convention and the European copyright directives. Although there are consistencies among nations' copyright laws, each jurisdiction has separate and distinct laws and regulations covering copyright. National copyright laws on licensing, transfer and assignment of copyright still vary greatly between countries and copyrighted works are licensed on a territorial basis. Some jurisdictions also recognize moral rights of creators, such as the right to be credited for the work.

Initially copyright only applied to published books, but over time copyright was extended to other uses, such as translations and derivative works. Copyright now covers a wide range of works, including maps, dramatic works, paintings, photographs, sound recordings, motion pictures, and computer programs.

Full article ▸

related documents
Alger Hiss
Fair use
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Class action
State court
International Court of Justice
Law of the United States
Eminent domain
Scopes Trial
Arbitration in the United States of America
Roe v. Wade
Double jeopardy
Advance-fee fraud
Name change
Judicial review
Magna Carta
Admiralty law