In the most basic terms, a copyright subsists in an expression of original creativity. Only the actual expression can be copyrighted; ideas cannot be copyrighted.
Many familiar items are the subject of copyright, such as:
visual artworks, such as drawings, paintings, and photographs
physical artworks, such as sculptures and installations
books, articles and other written materials
While registration is not required to have a common law copyright, it is required to be able to sue for copyright infringement in the United States. Copyright registration in the U.S. is not mandatory, rather it is voluntary, but there are many advanatages to doing so. First, as mentioned, you cannot sue for copyright infringement on a work unless it has been registered. This may seem counterintuitive, because copyright registration is not required, but it is required to even step into court to sue for infringement of the work.
The DMCA is the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, a U.S. federal law which builds on the Copyright Act to address some of the problems with the infringement of intellectual property on the internet. The primary provisions of the DMCA are an anti-circumvention rule and the internet service provider (ISP) safe-harbor. The anti-circumvention rule covers the reverse engineering, or 'cracking', of encrypted systems.
There are a variety of peer-to-peer (P2P) and BitTorrent filesharing clients, such as:
In the early days of internet filesharing (circa 2001), filesharing programs were only available on desktop and laptop computers, primarily those running Windows operating systems. Now, more than ten years later, filesharing software is available for nearly every commercial hardware platform, such as:
- Desktop and laptop computers
- Network Attached Storage (NAS)
- Standalone flash memory
- Tablet devices
- Mobile (cell) phones
- Video game consoles
- Internet-enabled TVs
- Internet-enabled media delivery devices
Ideally, you should register your copyright on the day that the work is published anywhere in the world, e.g. the date of first publication. The best approach is to work with your lawyer to get the application together and ready for submission on your planned publication date.
At the most, you should register your copyright within ninety days of the first publication.
The work-for-hire doctrine dictates the authorship of a work for the purposes of copyright, when the work is made by one person or a company for another. This is an important nuance in copyright law and warrants a consultation with your attorney when entering into any arrangement where a work is created for another. By default, the author of a work owns the copyright in the work. If the work is a work-for-hire, then the owner of the copyright in the work is the person or company who employed or commissioned the author (e.g., artist, etc.) to create the work.
Yes, normal registration upon or after publication is necessary even if you have pre-registered your copyright. A work can only be registered once it has been published, and conversely, a work that has already been published cannot be pre-registered. A valid pre-registration does not automatically become the registration for the work once it is published, so it is necessary to obtain the registration to continue to protect your work after publication.
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