Kevin Mark Klughart

PhD, PE, JD, MIP, LLM

Patent Attorney / Engineer

 

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Copyright FAQ

 

What does a copyright cost?

See the separate discussion on Copyright Pricing.

How long does it take to get a copyright?

See the separate discussion on Copyright Timeline.

Can a copyright protect my invention?

NO!  In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.  Thus, inventions (including the ideas they incorporate) are explicitly excluded from copyright protection.

What is the symbol used for?

The symbol, often expressed within parenthesis "(c)" is used to inform users that the work of authorship is copyrighted.  This merely informs the public that the work of authorship is not in the public domain and also informs the public of the identity of the author of the work 

How do I inform the public that my work of authorship is copyrighted?

The best way is to incorporate the statement 

Copyright YYYY by NAME, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

at the beginning of the work.  For example "Copyright 2010 by Kevin Mark Klughart, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED."  This statement informs the public that the work is not in the public domain and the year of initial authorship.  If the work is amended in subsequent years, the notice may include subsequent years of additional authorship.  For example, "Copyright 2010, 2011 by Kevin Mark Klughart, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED." 

Note that while these notices inform the public as to the copyrighted nature of the work, they do nothing to perfect a copyright registration on the work.  This process must still be pursued to ensure that a copyright may be enforced on the work.

Do I have to file a registration to have a copyright on my work?

NO, but you can't sue to enforce an infringement of your copyright without first filing for a Certificate of Registration.  The Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. 107) provides that

"Except for an action brought for a violation of the rights of the author under section 106A(a), and subject to the provisions of subsection (b), no action for infringement of the copyright in any United States work shall be instituted until preregistration or registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with this title."

Thus, registration of your copyright is a prerequisite to enforcing the rights in your artistic work.  

What is the statute of limitations for a copyright infringement claim?

Per 17 U.S.C. 507(b) the statute of limitations is three years:

"No civil action shall be maintained under the provisions of this title unless it is commenced within three years after the claim accrued.."

This is not three years from knowledge of the infringement, but three years from the actual infringement of the work.  

Why file for a copyright registration?

Registration of your copyright is a prerequisite to enforcing the rights in your artistic work.  Additionally, with respect to the recovery of damages for the infringement of your artistic work, there is a lookback period from the time of registration that may preclude damages unless the artistic work is registered in a timely fashion.  The rules in this circumstance are too complex to summarize here, so I suggest you contact me or another IP attorney to help explain the details of this restriction should you have questions in this area.

What is the effective date of my copyright registration?

Per 17 U.S.C. 410(d), 

"The effective date of a copyright registration is the day on which an application, deposit, and fee, which are later determined by the Register of Copyrights or by a court of competent jurisdiction to be acceptable for registration, have all been received in the Copyright Office."

How long can my copyright be enforced?

Generally speaking, the copyright terms are currently as follows:

For works of individual authorship - life of the author plus 70 years

Works of corporate authorship - 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever is earlier

Works published prior to 1/1/1978 - 95 years from the publication date

Copyright law contains a plethora of minutia that control the exact term of the copyright.  While there are charts that can help with this process, this area of copyright law is generally too complex to specify accurately without some help from an attorney.  Therefore, if you have questions in this area please contact me or another attorney practicing in the copyright area for specific legal advice.

 

Contact Information:

Kevin Mark Klughart

Registered Patent Attorney, USPTO

3825 Leisure Lane, Denton, TX 76210-5589

tel: 800-353-1211 / 940-320-0580  -  fax 940-320-0581

Kevin@Klughart.com   email  -  web    www.Klughart.com

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