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Copyright Law Act
The Copyright Law Act of 1976
The Copyright Law Act of 1976 is the basis of the United States copyright laws. The Copyright Law Act states the rights of copyright owners, the doctrine of the fair use copyright laws and it changed the term life of copyrights. Before the Copyright Law Act the law had not been revised since 1909. It was necessary that the copyright laws be revised to take into account technological strides that were being made in radio, sound recordings, motions pictures and more. The Copyright Law Act of 1976 preempted all previous laws that were on the books in the United States, including the Copyright Act of 1909.
The Copyright Law Act of 1976 defines ?works of authorship? to include all of the following:
* Musical works
* Literary works
* Dramatic works
* Pictorial, sculptural and graphics
* Motion Pictures and Audiovisuals
* Sound Recordings
* Choreographic Works and Pantomimes
* An eighth work which falls under ?architectural works? was later added in 1990.
What is unique about the United States copyright law is that it is automatic. Once someone has an idea and produces it in tangible form, the creator is the copyright holder and has the authority to enforce his exclusivity to it. In other words, the person is the owner of the creation. It is not necessary that a person register their work. However, it is recommended and it can serve as evidence if someone ever violates a copyright. It is interesting to note that when an employer hires an employee to produce a work that the copyright is given to the employer.
Violations of US Copyright Law are generally enforced in a civil court setting. However, there could also be criminal sanctions brought against someone who violates US copyright law. Someone that is in serious violation of US Copyright Law such as counterfeiting can find themselves on the inside of prison looking out. People need to understand that the copyright symbol is not a requirement. Someone may have a copyright, yet their work may not have a copyright notice or symbol.
US Copyright Law covers a wide range of things that are derived from artistic expression, intellectual or creative work. This includes things such as literary works, music, drawings, photographs, software, movies, choreographic works such as ballets and plays, poems, paintings and more. The law covers the form of expression, not the concept, facts or the actual idea of the work. This means that someone can use another person?s idea or concept and produce their own take on it. However, copying another person?s work is a violation. It should be noted that some things may not be copyrighted but they may be protected by a patent or trademark.
Individuals who have a copyright on a particular piece of work can do with it what they will. They may choose to copy it and sell it. They may display their work or perform it in public and charge admission, or they can assign or sell the work to someone else. Individuals who have a copyright can also choose to do nothing with their work, if that is their desire. However, if someone comes along and takes the work and tries to use it in some way, that person is still in violation of the owner?s copyright. The Copyright Law Act covers published and unpublished work.
Software Copyright Laws Software Copyright Laws Fail to Provide Adequate Protection Software copyright laws are among the most difficult to enforce among the masses. Many companies and corporations are also well known for overlooking these laws, which were designed to protect the makes of software from not earning their worth. Perhaps one of the biggest hitches leading so many software businesses to go out of business is the fact that they have a great deal of difficulty actually enforcing the software copyright laws that are in place and getting the money that is owed them according to the agreements that have been made with those on the using end of the software. Software developers, particularly in the corporate world design software that makes other companies run more efficiently. The software allows these companies to save millions of dollars each year. Software copyright laws protect the interests of the software developers that create these massive programs. These programs are often designed specifically for that one company and are very expensive. The agreement often consists of a certain number of users with the company purchasing more licenses or copies of the software during expansions or paying some sort of royalties for the use of the software. The purchasing companies agree to this and then more often than not fail to honor that agreement. The agreement is what allows this company to use that software, this agreement is what allows that permission. When companies aren't living up to their end of this agreement they are not only guilty of breaching that agreement but also of breaking software copyright laws. The trouble always lies in proving that they are not honoring the contract and the extent and duration of the breach. Some of the ways that companies will argue in defense of them not paying the royalties, additional fees, purchasing additional software, etc. is that they upgraded computers and reused the old software (they did actually purchase the rights to use the original software and by doing so feel that they have broken no software copyright laws) the problem lies in the fact that adding ten new computers and placing the software on those should mean that you remove it from or get rid of 10 old computers. This is rarely how it works. So now they've basically stolen ten copies of software that can be well worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Multiply this by 10, 20, or 100 companies trying this or worse each year and the offending companies are costing software developers millions of dollars in profits. This is when software copyright laws are not as far reaching in their scope as they really need to be. Software copyright laws exist to protect the software companies from this type of abuse and misuse, however, the hands of the companies are almost unilaterally tied when it comes to proving that software copyright laws have been broken in court. There are always exceptions to every rule. In this case big business software developers that abuse the software copyright laws to the point of breaking make the exceptions rather than miserly consumers that do not wish to pay for the products they are consuming. The big boys are able to do this by offering licenses for their software and claiming that these laws do not apply to their situation because they are not actually selling the software only 'renting' out permission for people or companies to 'use' that software. The true irony is that these practices began as a response to the corporate irresponsibility mentioned above. It's amazing that the very software copyright laws that were created to protect these companies can't protect their consumers from the greed of the developing companies.