Copyright protections exist to protect the rights of creators of new and original works. A copyright means that the original creator of the work (or their agent) is the only one allowed to distribute, display, reproduce, make derivatives of, or perform their work in public. There are various types of works that can be copyrighted under U.S. law. This includes the following:
Copyright laws are incredibly complex, and many people wonder how long a copyright can actually last. The answer to that question depends largely on when a qualifying work was created. If you have further questions about how long copyright protection lasts, speak with a knowledgeable Orange County intellectual property attorney experienced in copyright law.
Any work published between this time frame had an initial copyright of 28 years from the date of publication. However, if the copyright was renewed during the 28th year, then it was extended for an additional 28 year period.
Again, the initial copyrighted term of a work published in these periods was 28 years from the date of publication. However, if the copyright was renewed during the 28th year, then the copyright was extended for 67 more years.
Any work published between these years was granted an initial copyright of 28 years from the date of publication. However, there was an automatic renewal of an additional 67 years upon expiration.
Works published between these timeframes have different rules depending on the particular facts surrounding the creation.
When working to determine the length of a copyright, it is crucial to understand the publication date of the material protected. The above list gives a solid guideline for determining whether a particular work you have a question about this still protected by copyright. However, if you have any questions about whether or not your use of copyrighted material is legal, you should speak to a skilled copyright lawyer for help. There are times when individuals or organizations can use copyrighted material through the fair use rules established under U.S. law, but this is only allowed in certain circumstances.
If you are seeking help with copywriting your own material, you should also work with a skilled copyright lawyer. The copyright process is not terribly difficult, but you want to be sure that you do it correctly. That way, if someone infringes on your copyright, you will be protected under U.S. law and may be awarded damages for copyright infringement.