What is Copyright?

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of original works of authorship including musical, literary, artistic, architectural, and other intellectual works (published and unpublished). The owners of a copyright have the exclusive right to make, sell, reproduce, distribute, license, or copy their works, the right to create derivative works, and the right to perform or display their works publicly. These exclusive rights generally expire 70 years after the author’s death.


United States copyright law is governed by the Federal Copyright Act of 1976. According to the Copyright Act of 1976, registration of copyright is voluntary and may take place at any time during the term of protection.

The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a U.S. copyright law that implements two 1996 of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties. Among other things, the DMCA increases the penalties for copyright infringement on Internet and for circumventing an access control.


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