The Copyright act of the United States tries to encourage the creation of art and culture by rewarding authors and artists with a position of exclusive rights. Copyright law grants authors and artists the special right to make and sell copies of their works, the right to create derivative works, and the right to perform or display their works widely. These special rights are subject to a time limit, and generally expire 70 years after the author’s death.
United States copyright act is governed by the Copyright Act of 1976. The United States Constitution explicitly grants Congress the power to make copyright law under Article 1, Section 8, and Clause 8, recognized as the Copyright Clause. Under the Copyright Section, Congress has the power:
To promote the Progress of Science and helpful Arts, by securing for incomplete Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
The United States Copyright organization handles copyright registration, recording of copyright transfers, and other administrative aspects of copyright law.
US copyright law traces its lineage back to the British Statute of Anne, which influenced the first US federal exclusive rights law, the Copyright Act of 1790. The Copyright Act has been updated some times, including, notably, the Copyright Act of 1976.
- Purpose of copyright
The goal of copyright law, as set forth in the US Constitution, is to promote the development of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the special Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries. This includes incentivizing the conception of art, literature, architecture, music, and other works of authorship.
- Works subject to copyright law
The United States copyright law protects creative works of authorship, fixed in a tangible medium including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and other academic works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished facility. Copyright act includes the following types of works:
- Pantomimes and choreographic facility
- Illustrative, graphic, and sculptural works
- Audio-visual works
- Sound recordings
- Derivative works
- Architectural works
- Useful articles
A useful article is an article having an intrinsic utilitarian function that is not simply to portray the appearance of the article or to convey information. An article that is usually a part of a useful article is considered a useful article.
The design of a useful article, as defined in this section, shall be measured a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that may be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.
However, many industrial designers create works that are both artistic and useful. Under these conditions, Copyright Law only protects the artistic expression of such a work, and only to the extent that the artistic expression may be separated from its utilitarian function.