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Copyright for Creators: Copyrighting Your Work

Introduction to Copyright

What is copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

What does copyright protect?
Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

When is my work protected?
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

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Registering Copyright

Your work is copyrighted the minute it is fixed in a tangible form, so you don't need to register for copyright for it to be protected. However, if your copyright is ever violated, you will need to register your work to file litigation.

 

Standard Application Tutorial:

Copyright Resources