When you create a work of art, your work is automatically protected with copyright rights, even without registering an official copyright claim with the Copyright Office. Oftentimes, we have to learn about copyright laws when our copyright has been infringed upon. This week’s blog post educated you on the 5 basic rights to your intellectual property.
- The right to reproduce the copyrighted work by any means
- Prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work
- Distribute copies or photo records of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership or by rental, lease, or lending
- Perform the work publicly
- Display the copyrighted works publicly
With these 5 rights, you own the copyright to your intellectual property which includes all: literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic works and pantomimes, motion pictures and other audiovisual, pictorial, graphic, and sculptural, sound recordings, and architectural works.
You are in control of how you use and distribute your rights, meaning you can assign, transfer, license, or convey one or more of these rights to anyone you want for any length of time. But these rights only apply when your intellectual property exists not when it’s still an idea.
Even when you sell a work of art, you own the copyright and the bundle of rights that comes with creating the original (unless in specific writing states that you have transferred your rights to the owner). Owning the work of art does not transfer the rights. But be careful when signing contracts and agreements. Read the copyright section carefully. Often independent contracts or work-for-hire jobs take the rights to your copyright.
Resources & Notes:
Further legal information can be found in the Copyright Revision Act of 1976 or assistance from an attorney.
The Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts offers free to low-cost affordable legal assistance for artists. Refer to the VLA directory to locate assistance in your state.
If you are looking to learn more about copyright, the Copyright Law of the United States has a helpful but technical document.
Information in this blog post in regards to copyright was referenced from Art Law in a Nutshell
Please note that artists who created and published work between January 1st, 1976 and March 1st, 1989 there are specific outlines on how copyright applies and bear notice. Refer to Section 401 of the 1976 Act for more information.