Copyright © and Trademark ®

Copyrights ©

What can be copyrighted?

Books, music, paintings, works of art, computer software, dramatic works, motion pictures, sound recordings, maps, and other original works of authorship may be copyrighted. However, ideas per se may not be copyrighted.

What protection does copyright offer?

Copyright protects the fixed tangible expression of an idea – not the idea itself. This means that no one can use your software code or book without permission, but they can independently develop their own code or write a book about the same topic that might accomplish the same objective.
The copyright holder has the right to:
  • Reproduce or copy the work
  • Create derivative works
  • Distribute the work
  • Perform the work in public
  • Display the work in public
  • Digital transmission performance
Refer to the US Copyright Office for additional details

What is the life of a copyright?

Copyrights are in effect for the life of the last surviving author, plus 70 years. If the work is produced as a result of the author's employment, the term is 95 years from the first publication, or 120 years after the creation of the work, whichever is shorter.

How does one protect copyrights?

A copyright exists at the moment an idea is created and recorded as a tangible form of expression. Copyright status is automatically established by the creation of a work. It is recommended that copyright notices be conspicuously placed on a work (example: Copyright 2013, University of New Orleans. All rights reserved; or © University of New Orleans, 2013. All rights reserved.) However, registration with the Copyright Office is required to file an infringement action.

Should copyrights be registered and if so, where?

It is not mandatory to register copyrights, although registering copyrights within certain time frames has certain advantages. Copyrights are registered with the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C


What do the symbols ® and TM mean? When should they be used?

The symbol ® refers to a registered trademark, a trademark that has been registered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The symbol TM refers to a trademark; there is no implication that the mark has been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It is good practice to respect the trademarks of others by including the appropriate symbol when referring to a product in publications, including papers in peer-reviewed journals. When doing so, it is usually best to use the symbol and nomenclature in the same manner as the manufacturer itself does.