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Supreme Court Uses Cheerleading Case to Support Copyright Protections for Design Features on Useful Articles

Posted on January 17, 2020
Photo of Copyright Protections for Design Features on a Cheerleading Uniform

There is a fine line between a regular object that is used for practical purposes and one that has its own artistic value with copyrightable properties. One would generally expect there to be a large buffer zone between a chair and a chair with copyrightable designs such as a specific floral pattern. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Therefore, courts are forced to distinguish between useful articles with only practical characteristics and … Read More

What Types of Creative Works Qualify for Copyright Protection?

Posted on December 18, 2019
photo of a White Copyright Symbol On Computer Keyboard

The first example of copyright law in the United States was the Copyright Clause of the U.S. Constitution. It stated that all authors would be granted exclusive rights to their respective writings in order to promote the expansion of general knowledge. As time progressed, other works of art were added to copyright law. This included paintings, designs, music and photographs. The history of copyright law since then has shown us that the … Read More

How Is Ownership of a Copyright Transferred?

Posted on May 29, 2019
Photo of the Ownership of a Copyright

The owner of a copyright is entitled to certain exclusive rights under the Copyright Act of 1976. These rights include the right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivate works based upon the copyrighted work, to distribute copies of the copyright work to the public by sale or transfer of ownership, to perform the copyrighted work publicly through live means or through audio transmission and to display the copyrighted work publicly. When the … Read More

What is “Fair Use” of a Copyrighted Work?

Posted on May 20, 2019
Fair Use of a Copyrighted Work

The term “fair use” refers to the limited permitted copying of copyrighted material without receiving permission from the copyright holders. It is used as a defense against copyright infringement, and if use of a copyrighted work is deemed to be “fair use”, then the action is not considered illegal. The Copyright Act of 1976 cites four factors it uses to determine whether the use of a copyrighted work falls under the category of fair use. The … Read More

What Is a “Joint Work” and Who Owns Its Copyright?

Posted on May 10, 2019
Photo of a Joint Work Copyright Law

A “joint work” is a work prepared by two or more authors with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole. See 17 U.S.C. § 101. A collaborative effort is only classified as a joint work if each author made independently copyrightable contributions to the work and if the authors fully intended to be coauthors. The phrase “independently copyrightable contributions” implies that if all of the authors of the … Read More

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