According to Webster's, copyright is the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.
Origins of Copyright
”The Congress shall have the power… [t]o promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”
- Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution
1790: Copyright Act of 1790 - The first congress implements the copyright provision in the Constitution
1831: Revision of the Copyright Act - Extends copyright to 28 years, with an additional 14 year renewal
1870: Revision of the Copyright Act - Copyright administration moved to the Library of Congress's jurisdiction
1909: Revision of the U. S. Copyright Act - Broadens scope, extends terms again (28 years with a 28 year renewal)
1976: Revision of the U. S. Copyright Act - Major revision: addressed technological advances, extends terms, Fair Use
1994: Conference on Fair Use (CONFU) - The Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights broadens Fair Use guidelines
1998: Digital Millennium Copyright Act - Addresses internet issues, unauthorized digital copying
2001: Creative Commons founded - The Center for Public Domain supports expanding how creative works are shared
2002: TEACH Act - Addresses digitial media use in online, nonprofit, educational settings
What's Covered by Copyright?
What is Covered By Copyright?
Ideas / methods / concepts
Titles, names, short phrases
Familiar symbols / designs
Typographic ornamentation / coloring
Ingredient lists / content lists
Who can claim copyright?
Who Can Claim Copyright?
The author who created the work
This one is obvious, right?
The person or organization who initiated the "work for hire"
"Work for hire" - if someone is paid to develop content, then (depending on the contract) the payee is the owner of the copyright!
The person or organization to whom copyright is transferred
A copyright can be transferred to / renewed by another person or designated organization. Think author foundations and trusts!