Summary of United States Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §§ 101 - 810
- Under current US law, all creative efforts are copyrighted the moment they are first put on paper, input into a computer, or recorded in any tangible form.
- While registration or stating that an item is copyrighted could increase the penalties to an infringer and the monetary return to the copyright holder in a civil suit, a copyright notice is not required.
- Copyright is violated whether a fee is charged or not.
- Postings to the Internet are not automatically in the public domain, and do not grant permission to do further copying.
- Copyright exists in civil law and criminal law. Fines could potentially be as much as $100,000 per violation -- see United States Code, title 17, chapter 5, Sec. 504 (c) ... "Statutory Damages".
- For works created on or after January 1, 1978, the work is protected from the time of creation until 70 years after the death of the author/artist.
- Under 17 USC 506(b), anyone convicted of digital connected copyright violations can have their computer equipment seized.
Please note that the information on these pages should be viewed as general guidelines only. If you are the victim of a copyright violation, you need to seek the counsel of an expert in the field -- you can easily find "intellectual property" attorneys at Lawyers.com.