Experienced Intellectual Property Counsel For the Present & Future of Your Business SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION

Common Misconceptions About Copyrights

Law Office of Julie Scott LLC Sept. 26, 2023

Text Copyright typed on retro typewriterCopyrights are vital intellectual property tools often used to protect original works of authorship, including dramatic, musical, artistic, literary works, and creative expressions. Also, having copyright protection allows you to prevent other people from copying your creative ideas and original works. However, there are several misconceptions out there that prevent many creators from taking full advantage of copyright for their intellectual property and ideas. 

At the Law Office of Julie Scott LLC, I proudly provide legal assistance and reliable advocacy to clients in the legal matters of intellectual property and copyrights. As a practiced Missouri intellectual property attorney, I can tell you about copyrights and advise on your copyright registration. Also, I can help clarify some of the common misconceptions about copyrights. My firm proudly serves clients across Kansas City, Rolla, Springfield, and Columbia, Missouri. 

What Is Copyright Protection?

Copyright protection is an intellectual property offered by U.S. law which protects a person's creative expression and original works of authorship. Once you copyright your works and creative ideas, you will have exclusive legal rights and prevent others from copying, using, or distributing them. 

Requirements of Copyright Protection 

In order to be eligible for copyright protection in the U.S., the work must: 

  • Be fixed in a tangible medium of expression

  • Be the original and independent creation of the author

Categories of Copyrightable Works 

Here are some categories of works that may be copyrighted: 

  • Literary works

  • Pictorial, sculptural, and graphic works

  • Musical works

  • Artistic works

  • Architectural works

  • Motion pictures and other audiovisual works

  • Sound recordings

  • Choreographic works

  • Dramatic works

Unprotected Works 

Some works that are not protected under the Copyright Act include: 

  • Unfixed works 

  • Useful articles 

  • Ideas, discoveries, systems, and methods

  • Titles, slogans, names, and short phrases 

  • Familiar symbols and designs 

A knowledgeable Missouri copyrights attorney can educate you about all you need to know about copyrights and assist with your copyright registration. 

Common Misconceptions About Copyright

There is a lot of misleading information out there about copyright protections. As such, Missouri copyright lawyers must properly enlighten their clients about what copyright is, what can be copyrighted, and the type of protections it offers. Here are some common myths and misconceptions about copyright and a brief explanation of why they're not true: 

Misconception #1: Permission or a license is not needed if only a certain amount or percentage of the work is used or if only a certain number of copies are made. 

This is a common misconception. Once an original work of authorship has been copyrighted, only the rightful owner has exclusive legal rights to copy, redistribute, or create a new work using it. Even if you want to use or copy a certain amount or small portion of the work, you must still seek permission or a license from the original owner. 

Misconception #2: If the public can access it, the public can use it. 

Contrary to popular belief, having public access to a work doesn't mean it is out of copyright. All works created on or after January 1, 1978, are subject to copyright terms of the author's life plus seventy (70) years after the author's death. The work will only be in the public domain after the copyright expires. Hence, even if the work is available for everyone to read or download through the Internet, the public must still seek the permission of the owner to use it. 

Misconception #3: Copyright protection extends to all ideas and all kinds of works. 

This is not true. Copyright protection only covers works that are fixed and have original authorship. Mere ideas, processes, and methods cannot be copyrighted. Likewise, you cannot copyright any work that isn't fixed in a tangible form. For instance, you cannot copyright a speech you haven't written down or a song you're yet to record. 

Misconception #4: "Fair use" is the same throughout the whole world, regardless of the country. 

This is another common misconception. Fair use isn't the same throughout the whole world. What may be considered fair use isn't clearly defined. Therefore, if you want to copy, redistribute, or create a new work based on another person's work, getting the owner's permission is crucial. 

Misconception #5: Without the © symbol, it's not copyrighted. 

This is false. Once a copyright has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, all original works of authorship and creative expressions are protected once they are fixed in a tangible form. Therefore, whether there is a copyright symbol or notice on it, the work will still be covered by copyright protection. 

Misconception #6: I can copy other people's work if I don't make money from it. 

This is not true. Except under limited circumstances, copying or publishing another person's work of authorship without their approval is considered copyright infringement. Whether you sell or make money from it or not, you may face possible legal action. Likewise, the owner may file a civil action against you to seek damages for lost revenue and royalties. 

Protect What’s Yours: Reach Out Today

Navigating intellectual property matters involving copyrights can be a little bit complicated and tricky. At the Law Office of Julie Scott LLC, I have the diligence and knowledge to advise and guide clients in copyright-related matters. As your lawyer, I can determine the best way to protect your original works and ideas and walk you through the legal steps involved in your copyright registration. 

Contact me at the Law Office of Julie Scott LLC today to schedule an initial consultation with a practiced intellectual property lawyer. I have the knowledge and trusted advocacy you need to make informed decisions in your IP and copyright matters. My firm proudly serves clients across Kansas City, Rolla, Springfield, and Columbia, Missouri.