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Copyright protections in California

Copyright protections are available to protect people who are the authors of original works, including musical, artistic, dramatic, literary and certain other types of work. People who own a copyright to the work then have certain rights with regards to the work, including the right to reproduce it, author new works derived off the original work, distribute it, display it or perform it.

There are specific categories of works that can be protected by a copyright. Copyrightable works include such things as literary works, musical scores, choreography if it is written down, dramatic works, pantomimes, architectural works, audiovisual recordings and sculptural, pictorial and graphic works. The categories are viewed broadly. For example, a computer program may be registered as a literary work.

Works that have not been written down or fixed in a tangible manner do not enjoy copyright protection. Such things as names, titles, popular symbols, slogans, ingredient lists and short phrases are also not copyrightable. Works that are completely comprised of work that is common property may not be copyrighted. Similarly, ideas, procedures, methods and the like are not copyrightable. If an employee creates a work as a part of his or her employment, even though the employee authored the work, the employer and not the employee is considered to be the copyright owner.

Copyright laws are in place in order to protect the intellectual property created by an individual. When a work is registered and a copyright is obtained, others may not reproduce the work in part or in whole without first obtaining express permission to do so from the copyright owner. If a copyright is violated, the copyright owner may be able to then file a lawsuit and seek damages against the person or company that violated the copyright. Original authors may wish to protect their work by obtaining copyrights for it.

Source: Copyright, "What Is Not Protected by Copyright?", December 08, 2014

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