What does a copyright protect?

| Sep 12, 2014 | Copyright Law

One of the things that separate human beings from other living beings is our ability to create and appreciate art. From the earliest cave paintings and pottery, we have attempted to communicate our inner lives and perceptions of the world to others. Art is a sort of narrative of our shared history, while also being an intensely personal message.

Besides a form of expression, art is also a commodity in many cases. Many people are professional writers, musicians, artists and so on. Their livelihood relies on the ability to have control over their artistic works. The law recognizes this fact, and protects others from profiting from a person’s original work through intellectual property laws.

Specifically, copyrights provide legal protection for works fixed in a tangible medium, such as paper, a canvas or a computer hard drive. Examples of works that can be copyrighted are:

  • Artwork
  • Written material, such as a book
  • Music
  • Software
  • An artistic performance

The process of obtaining a copyright may seem relatively straightforward, and can take as little as six months. However, if a person working without an intellectual property attorney makes a mistake, he or she could later find himself without any legal protection against copyright claims from other parties. Also, roadblocks can arise, which could require someone experienced in the process to overcome.

Thus, someone with a body of work not currently protected by copyright should consider speaking to an attorney. It would be unfortunate if they ever found themselves losing control of their work.