Copyright protects original works of authorship, including artistic or literary works, both published and unpublished. Generally, copyright protection grants the owner the right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies, and to display the work publicly. For works created on or after January 1, 1978, the copyright remains in effect for its creator’s life plus 70 years. In the case of works-for-hire, copyright endures for either 95 years from the date of first publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.
Copyright protection is automatically secured when a work is fixed into a tangible medium. The fixation need not be directly perceptible as long as it may be communicated with the aid of a machine or device. Though not required, it’s good practice to include a copyright notice on a work at least for practical reasons (permission seekers) and for possible legal benefits. A copyright notice includes the word ‘copyright’ or ‘©’ symbol, year the materials were created, and the owner. See below for an example:
Copyright or symbol © [year] University of Rochester.
The phrase “All Rights Reserved” used to be a requirement for securing rights in certain countries, but is no longer required. The Berne Convention prohibits ANY notice or other formality as a condition to copyright protection. The U.S. joined the treaty in 1989. There are currently 168 contracting countries.
Copyrights are registered by the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress. Registration is voluntary and not a requirement for protection, however, formal registration is required to bring a legal action for copyright infringement. URVentures will work with you to determine if registration is recommended and to register the materials with the Copyright Office.