Copyright Laws in the United States

The laws that protect intellectual property is called copyright laws. These laws are reserved for original works that are tangible, no matter if they are published or unpublished. The works can be in the form of literary works, photographs, software or movies just to name a few.


To start with, let us define what copyright is. The reservation of a person’s right to produce, publish or sell an original work is called copyright. Copyright laws do not take into account concepts, ideas or techniques as original works. They only apply to works that have been materialized.


This is the reason why an original work should be put into paper in order to receive copyright protection. The rights enjoyed by a copyright owner are plenty. Let us look at a few right now.


  • The right to reproduce a specific work.
  • The right to derive something out of an existing piece of work.
  • The right to distribute their work by lease, sale or transfer of ownership.
  • The right to publicly perform the work.
  • The right to publicly display their work.



The above rights can be granted by a copyright owner to any other person. The owner can also transfer their exclusive power to anyone that they choose. As copyright offices do not have forms to grant the transfer of rights officially, this process is settled with the help of a contract. This contract will either be recorded by the

Copyright Office, although this isn’t a legally mandated step.

When an artist works for a company or creates content for said establishment, the ownership is usually given to the establishment instead and not to the creator. A scenario such as this is called “work for hire.” The copyright ownership is assigned to either the employer or the individual who commissioned the particular work.


Although it isn’t necessary to register original works in the Copyright Office, doing so has its benefits such as a clear public record of the ownership of the work. To file a lawsuit for copyright infringement, registration is required.


The registration can be carried out online through the electronic Copyright Office or eCO. This way, you’ll save time and money as well as keep track on the status.


Some things are filed instead as intellectual property that isn’t covered by copyright laws. An idea, procedure or technique can be protected using the patent law whereas names, symbols or titles can be trademarked.


It is always important to protect your work as you may have put your heart and soul into it. To have a deeper understanding of these laws or to determine whether your work qualifies for copyright protection, it is recommended that you consult a lawyer that specialized in intellectual property.