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COPYRIGHT - refers to a body of exclusive rights that protect the works of authors from being reproduced, performed or disseminated by others without permission. The first real copyright law was enacted in 1710 by the British Parliament, was the Statute of Anne. This law forbade the unauthorized printing, reprinting, or importing of books for a limited number of years.

How long does the Copyright last? - If secured before 1978, they are good for 28 years and can be renewed for an additional 47 years. For works created before 1978 that were neither published or registered with the Copyright Office before that year, they are protected until 50 years after the author's death or until Dec. 31, 2002, whichever is longer. Copyrights obtained after Jan. 1, 1978 are good until 50 years after the author's death. When a work is created by an employee in the normal course of a job, the copyright becomes the property of the employer and lasts for 75 years from publication or 100 years from creation, whichever is shorter.

Copyright infringement is any violation of the exclusive rights. Infringement does not necessarily mean word for word reproduction, "substantial similarity" may also be infringement. Copyright infringements are dealt with in civil lawsuits in federal court. Infringers may be liable for actual damages and profits or for statutory damages. Unintentional infringement is also illegal but may be treated less harshly by the court than intentional infringement. Willfully violating a copyright is a criminal offense.

If you are using someone else's COPYRIGHTED work, do YOU have permission?

For More Info on Copyright, see:

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