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What is a copyright?

A copyright is a property right granted to an author, poet, playwright, artist, composer, performer, photographer, architect, software coder, or other creator, of an original work, fixed in a tangible form of expression.  In the United States, it is "the right to reproduce the work, distribute copies, display or perform the work publicly, and create derivative works.

Copyrights  are granted to encourage new creative works by protecting the right of the creator to profit from the work for a limited period of time, .

Copyright and other ntellectual property

Under United States law, intellectual property referes to the creations of the human mind that can be sold or exchanged.  The four varieties of intellectual property are:

  • Copyright - Applies to original expressions of an idea, fixed in tangible form, including rose, poetry, plays, musical compositions, songs, artwords, architecture, performances, and computer software.
  • Patents - Granted to the inventors of new, unobvious and useful inventions.
  • Trademarks and Service Marks -Words, images, colors, sounds and other "mrks" used to identify the source of an item in commerce.
  • Trade Secrets -  Formulas and processes which are kep secret by the owner. Others may reverse engineer them, but stealing the trade secre isa gainst the law.

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