May 27, 2020  
 
Gaebler.com is a daily online magazine covering small business news. We help entrepreneurs transform ideas and innovations into greatness.

Articles for Entrepreneurs

 

Copyright

 

Copyright State and Federal Differences

Copyright laws are designed to protect original works from unauthorized use. But who regulates copyright law – state legislatures or the federal government?

Copyrights have existed for centuries in legal jurisdictions around the world.

Combined with trademarks and patents, they form a powerful trio of tools for securing company of individual claims to intellectual property.

Copyright law, on the other hand, has the potential to be a complex and muddy legal area. Although original works are automatically copyrighted at the moment of creation, enforcing legal ownership of copyrights requires additional steps on the part of the work's owner, not the least of which if formal copyright registration with the appropriate governmental authority.

Treaties and conventions have remedied some of the complexities involved with international copyright protection. But how do you go about copyrighting your work in the U.S.? Are copyrights governed by federal or state government agencies? And which agency should you contact if your work isn't covered under federal copyright legislation?

Copyright Registration in the U.S.

Registration gives copyright owners added legal protection for their copyrights. Although it isn't required, it's recommended that businesses pursue copyright registration for high value literary, artistic, and recorded content, especially if the release of that content in the public domain could cause a significant threat to the value of the work or the company's business model.

Copyright registration is a function the federal government, based on the Copyright Law of 1976. The U.S. Copyright Office handles all registrations and offers copyright owners several filing options. Once the registration has been approved, the copyright's owner enjoys legal protection for all jurisdictions in the U.S.

State Roles in Copyrighting

States are prohibited from engaging in most copyrighting activities. Specifically, states are not allowed to enact legislation that extends the copyrights provided by the U.S. government. For example, if New Jersey wanted to pass a law to extend the term of copyrights from the creator's lifetime plus 70 years to the creator's lifetime plus 100 years, they could not legally do so.

However, state legislatures may be allowed to enact copyright laws for material that isn't covered under the Copyright Law of 1976 or subsequent federal legislation. With the rapid pace of technological advancements, this loophole could be important for publishers of technology-based content, so it's important to check with your state and/or legal counsel if your content doesn't appear to be covered under federal copyright laws.

Related Articles

Want to learn more about this topic? If so, you will enjoy these articles:

Fair Use and Fair Dealing
What Is A Copyright?
How Much Does A Copyright Cost?
Public Domain and Copyrights


Conversation Board

We greatly appreciate any advice you can provide on this topic. Please contribute your insights on this topic so others can benefit.


Questions, Comments, Tips, and Advice  Code Image - Please contact webmaster if you have problems seeing this image code
Problem Viewing Image
Load New Code

 

 

Additional Resources for Entrepreneurs

Search Engine Marketing

Social Marketing Optimization

Business Forms

Business in the Jungle - Business in Fiction - Negotiating

Radio Ad Costs

Newspaper Advertising Rates

City-Specific Resources for Entrepreneurs

Small Business Insurance

Global Entrepreneurship

China & Entrepreneurs