What is copyright, how is it created, and what does it protect?

What is a copyright, how is it created and what does it protect?

By Tonya M. Evans (excerpt from Copyright Companion for Writers)

once-upon-a-timeIf you have created an original literary or artistic work in some tangible form – in writing, electronic file or on film or canvas, for example – then nothing more is required as copyright is created automatically.

So in order for a copyright to exist, you must have created a literary or artistic work that is original (independently created) and tangibly expressed in a form that is actually capable of being copied.

In general, the Copyright Act gives a copyright owner the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

  1. Copy the work
  2. Prepare derivative works based on the original (screenplay based on a novel or vice versa)
  3. Distribute copies of the work to the public (publication)
  4. Publicly display
  5. Publicly perform

Collectively, these rights are often referred to as an author’s exclusive bundle of rights.

Need more info? Pick the reference that’s right for you from our LWP Bookshelf

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