Authors expressionA copyright is an exclusive right to reproduce an original work of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, to prepare derivative works based upon the original work, and to perform or display the work in the case of musical, dramatic, choreographic, and sculptural works. Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, or embodied. Rather, copyright protection is limited to an author s particular expression of an idea, process, concept, and the like in a tangible medium.
Copyright protection automatically subsists in all works of authorship from the moment of creation. The TRIPS Agreement provides a minimum standard for duration of copyright protection. In the case of a person, the term is the life of the author plus 50 years. In the case of a corporate entity, it is 50 years from the end of the calendar year of authorized publication or, in the absence of publication, from the end of the calendar year of making (TRIPS Article 12). The term of protection for live performances that are recorded is 50 years for the performer and producer, and 20 years for the broadcaster of the work.
The United States recently upgraded its protection for copyrighted works as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA. For instance, in the United States, the copyright for the work of an individual author created on or after January 1, 1978, lasts for his or her lifetime plus 70 years after the author's death. However, if the work is made for hire, the copyright lasts for 120 years from the time of creation or 95 years from first publication, whichever is shorter.
The exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner do not include the right to prevent others from making fair use of the owner s work. Such fair use may include use of the work for purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching or education, and scholarship or research. The nature of the work, the extent of the work copied, and the impact of copying on the work s commercial value are all considered in determining whether an unauthorized use is a “fair use.”
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