A copyright is a form of intellectual property consisting of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an author of a creative work. such as a novel, musical composition or recording, graphic art work or computer program.
Copyrights are of interest to more than just authors and artists, however. A typical business likely has many works that qualify for at least some level of copyright protection. Such works could include:
- Manuals, such as user manuals.
- Internal documents, such as policy manuals.
- Software.Databases (to a limited degree).
Any creative work is automatically protected internationally under copyright law as soon as it is created and fixed in a medium of expression (e.g. paper, CD, DVD or computer storage). A copyright on a work can be registered with the U.S. Copyright Offic for a low fee of $35. Registration is not required to obtain copyrights in a work, per se, but registration is a prerequisite to bringi.ng a suitfor copyright infringement.
Typically, businesses register copyrights for particular works where such works are core business assets, such as software, or where such works are sold for profit, such as books and highly recommended. The registration puts the public on notice you will defend your copyrights, and it serves as good evidence of the date of the creation of the work.
An important graphic artwork. Businesses sometimes also register copyrights in advertisements to preclude competition from copying highly original advertising copy. Copyright registration is point to note is that copyright law protects expresst'on, not ideas. Where a given idea, such as, for example; an advertisement, a basic story concept for a book, or a business process to be implemented in software, can be written or developed in detail in multiple ways, each such way can be termed to be an expression of the idea, and thus copyrightable.
In practice, the line between ideas and expression can be hazy. As a general rule, facts are typically not copyrightable, nor are procedures, forms and checklists.