IP Essentials: Q&A Series

Q What is a work “in the public domain”? A When a work is said to be in the public domain (also referred to as “commons”), generally the copyright

Q How long does a federal copyright protection last? A Depending on the type of work, and whether, where, and when the work was first published, a copyright term may last up to 120 years from the date of creation. Q Can I transfer my copyrights to another person or entity? A Yes. Like any other property, all or part of the copyrights in a work may be transferred by the owner to another. Any copyright assignment must be in writing. Q Do I lose my copyright if I post my original work on social media? A No, but you generally give a non-exclusive right to use the work to the social media platform where you uploaded your work. It would be prudent to read the terms and conditions of these platforms before posting your work. Q Is my copyright good in other countries? A Most of the world including the United States are signatories to international treaties that recognize copyrights in works of authorship.

“The copyright of an original

work of author- ship vests in the author imme- diately upon creation unless transferred in writing.”

term has expired or the authors voluntarily included their works in the public domain through a procedure known as “voluntary relinquishment”.

Q What is the “fair use doctrine”? A Under the fair use doctrine, a party may exercise the rights otherwise

controlled by the copyright owner for the purpose of research (for limited purposes), comment, criticism, parody, or scholarship.

Q What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)? A The DMCA addresses copyright infringement on the internet. Among other things, it bans the creation and distribution of technology, devices, or services that are intended to bypass measures to control access to copyrighted works, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright. The DMCA also limits the liability of online service providers for copyright infringement by users, provided that they meet specific requirements.

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