What is a copyright?
Copyright protect your valuable artistic, musical, literary, audiovisual, and software expressions.
Copyrights provide the right to prevent others from making additional copies of the copyrighted work and also the right to prevent others from making works that are mere derivatives of the copyrighted work. The value of copyright registrations should not be underestimated, as it allows for the recovery of attorney’s fees and statutory damages in the event of infringement of the copyright.
Copyrights have been standardized internationally and last between fifty and one hundred years from the creator’s death or a fixed period of time for anonymous creations.
Copyright may apply to a wide range of creative “works” including, poems, theses, plays, other literary works, movies, dances, musical compositions, audio recordings, paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, software, radio and television broadcasts, and industrial designs. Graphic designs and industrial designs may have separate or overlapping laws applied to them in some jurisdictions.
Copyright does not cover ideas or information, only the form or manner in which they are expressed. This is referred to as the “Idea-Expression Dichotomy.” For example, the copyright to a Mickey Mouse cartoon restricts others from making copies of the cartoon or creating derivative works based on Disney’s particular cartoon mouse, but doesn’t prohibit the creation of other works about anthropomorphic mice in general, so long as they’re different enough to not be judged copies of Disney’s. In many jurisdictions, copyright law makes exceptions to these restrictions when the work is copied for the purpose of commentary or other related uses
Similar to patents, copyrights inure to the benefit of its owners for a limited period of time albeit for a longer period of time compared to patents.