The exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute an original literary, artistic, or intellectual work.

Copyright is a form of Intellectual Property that grants exclusive legal rights to the creators of original works of authorship. These include literary works like books, articles, and computer programs; artistic works like paintings, sculptures, and architectural designs; musical works and sound recordings; dramatic works like plays and movies; and other intellectual works like choreographic works and pantomimes.

A copyright gives its owner the exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, license, and prepare derivative works based on the original. It prevents others from using, reproducing, or profiting from the work without the creator’s permission. Copyrights take effect automatically upon creating an original work without any registration required, though registration creates additional legal advantages.

Copyrights serve as a catalyst for the creation and dissemination of works, empowering creators to profit from their labor. However, it’s crucial to note that copyrights are not absolute. They are tempered by fair use provisions that allow certain uses for purposes like news reporting, research, teaching, and parody. Works eventually transition into the public domain after a statutory term, currently the life of the author plus 70 years.

Enforcement is carried out through civil lawsuits for damages and injunctions, with potential criminal penalties for willful infringement. Proper copyright notice and registration bolster protection and remedies. In essence, copyright law is a delicate balancing act, aiming to harmonize incentives for authors with public access, and it diligently follows creative works over their commercial lifespan.

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