What Is Copyright Law?

Law Blog

If you are interested in intellectual property, then you probably have some basic familiarity with the terms patent, copyright, and trademark. However, you might not be sure of what exactly differentiates these terms from one another. To help you out, here is an in-depth explanation of what a copyright is.

What Is A Copyright?

A copyright specifically covers the authorship of a book, movie, video game, or other form of media. This includes a vast amount of territory and can range from the scholarly authorship of a journal article to the the production of a movie.

How Long Does A Copyright Last?

If you file a copyright today, then it will last for the rest of your life plus 70 years. However, the process becomes a little more complicated based on whether the author is anonymous, when the copyright was filed in the past, and whether or not it was filed before 1978.

Renewal is allowed for some older copyrights, but it cannot be used on newer works, at least not according to current laws.

Can You Copyright A Plot?

It is important to note that copyrights deal in the exact reproduction of specific works rather than the general idea behind them. The Lion King may be extremely similar to Hamlet or Kimba the White Lion thematically, but it is a distinct entity. You can't copyright a plot, but you can copyright complete forms of media to protect against reproduction, such as a pirated DVD.

Why Can't Plots Be Copyrighted?

If plots could be copyrighted, then many movies and books would simply not exist. Some even go so far as to argue that there are only seven types of plots. While this may be an exaggeration, there are certainly works that could be closely compared to other works. If copyright laws were stricter and more prohibitive, then movie reboots such as Batman Begins might not be legal.

But What About Satire?

There is a bit of gray area when it comes to how similar two copyrighted works may be, especially when it comes to satire. Some authors may claim that their work is a satire when it is extremely similar to another copyrighted work, and it is up to the legal system to determine if that is the case. In situations like these, you may also see some overlap between the legal realms of copyright infringement and libel. This is due to the potentially incendiary nature of satire, which is generally critical of the original work.

For more detailed answers and information, visit a law office such as George Murray Shipley Bell.


11 August 2015

How to Gain Guardianship Over a Child

The laws governing child custody and guardianship can be confusing. As a family attorney, I have helped many clients gain legal guardianship over a foster child or a relative's child. Getting legal guardianship of a child you are caring for is important because you need to be able to make decisions about that child's education, health care and other matters. This blog will help you navigate the world of legal guardianship and show you how to take steps to get guardianship over a child whether the child's parents are cooperative or not. Legal guardianship does matter even if a child is not going to be adopted. I hope to help people find the way to get this done.