Importance of Copyright Laws

Last Updated On: December 9, 2022

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There are many advantages of copyright protection laws. When someone creates a new work, like a book, poem, photo or painting it is the copyright law that helps to protect who owns the work.  

Who is protected by copyright?

Copyright, or an author’s right, is a legal expression which is used to define the rights of the creators over of artistic and literary works. Works that are protected by copyright include the following:

  • technical drawings.
  • sculptures, 
  • paintings, 
  • music, 
  • maps,
  • films, 
  • databases, 
  • computer programs, 
  • books, 
  • advertisements.

Copyright treats a creative work as a form of property called intellectual property. You can own creative expression for a book you have written or a painting you have painted but unlike private property ownership, copyright is just for a limited period of time and will eventually expire.


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    Advantages of copyright protection

    1. Only the copyright-holder is given the right to use a copyrighted work. Anyone else must ask permission from the owner before using a copyrighted work. Musicians, authors, artists and others license the use of their copyrighted works, so that they can earn an income from any creations. 
    2. The longevity of copyright protection using modern law persists for 70 years following the death of the author which is a much longer term than ever existed before the legal updating in recent decades.
    3. Penalties under copyright law include monetary penalties for using without permission someone else’s copyrighted work. Fines can be quite substantial and are normally based on a court determining the amount of financial damage for the copyright-holder, in relation to lost sales, legal fees, etc.
    4. Coverage under Federal law and international treaties means that copyright is protected not just in the United States, but in most other countries throughout the world.
    5. Clarity is important so that copyright ownership is known to those who wish to know. If a worker creates a website or pamphlet for a business the copyright is usually held by the business and not the individual employee. 

    Getting Copyright

    You are not required to take any action to get a copyright for creative work. Copyright becomes an automatic right, from the time a work is put into its concrete form. However, the lyrics of a new song which hasn’t yet been written down are not automatically protected by copyright. But as soon as it is written down on paper or inputted into a computer the lyrics are then copyright-protected.  

    In the United States, you may obtain for your work a higher degree of legal protection by registering it with the U.S. Copyright Office. If you do this an official record of the work is created, its owner, and the registration date. If a dispute about the use of copyrighted material occurs, the registration should become an important legal consideration.

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