Frequently Asked Questions

About Copyright Articles

What does public domain mean?

A work is in the public domain if it is no longer protected by copyright. This means...

What is fair use?

As defined in section 107 of the 1976 Copyright Act, “fair use” of...

If I record my song on CD is my song considered published?

Mere public performance of a work does not itself constitute publication. However, if...

What is copyright registration?

Copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the...

What is a work made for hire?

The general rule is that the person who creates the work is its author, but there is...

Can I change someone else's work and make a new copyright claim?

Only the copyright owner has the right to create (or authorize someone else to create)...

How much of someone else's work can I use without permission?

If you use a copyrighted work without authorization, the owner may be entitled to...

Can I register a diary I found in my grandmother’s attic?

You can register copyright in the diary only if you are the transferee (by will, by...

What Is a Copyright?

A copyright is a mark that indicates a form of protection provided by the laws of the...

How Long Does Copyright Protection Last?

The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, signed into law on October 27, 1998,...

What Can I Do if Someone Violates My Copyright?

A party may seek to protect his/her copyright(s) against unauthorized use by filing a...

Can I Copyright a Name, Title, Slogan, or Logo?

Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. In some cases,...

Can I Protect My Recipe With a Copyright Registration?

A list of ingredients is not protected under copyright law. However, where a recipe or...

Who Can Claim Copyright?

Generally, the copyright in the original work of authorship immediately becomes the...

Does Copyright Registration Cover Frequent Code Changes?

An initial registration does not cover subsequent versions of a Web site, regardless...

When Must I Register My Work With the U.S. Copyright Office?

Registration can be made at any time after the work is completed and within the life...

What Does Copyright Protect?

Generally, copyright protection gives the copyright owner exclusive right to do, and...

How Does the Copyright Office Define Choreography and Pantomime?

“Choreography” is the composition and arrangement of dance movements and...

Are Copyrights Transferable?

Yes. Like any other property, the owner may transfer all or part of the rights in a...

What Works Are Not Protected by Copyright?

Several categories of material are not eligible for copyright protection, including:...

Can I Copyright the Name of My Band?

No. Copyright law does not protect names. Some names may be protected under trademark...

Can My Unpublished Work Be Protected by Copyright?

Yes. Copyright protection is available for both published and unpublished works.

What Happens When Copyright Protection Expires?

At the end of the copyright period the work goes to the public domain and anyone can...

Do Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks Protect the Same Things?

No. Copyrights, patents, and trademarks all differ. A copyright is a form of...

Which Works Are Protected by Copyright?

Copyright protects "original works of authorship" that are fixed in a...