Definition & Meaning:

Copyright is a legal right granted to the creator of original works, including literature, music, art, and software, protecting their work from being used without permission.

It automatically applies from the moment the work is created and fixed in a tangible form that is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

This means the moment you write a story, compose a song, or develop software, you hold the copyright to that work.

The primary purpose of copyright is to encourage the creation of new works by ensuring creators can control and receive compensation for their efforts.

For example, if you write a book, copyright prevents others from reproducing, distributing, or making derivative works based on your book without your consent.

However, copyright does not protect ideas, facts, or methods of operation; it only covers the expressive and creative aspects of the work.

Copyright ownership gives you the exclusive right to use your work, share it with others under terms you set, and potentially earn revenue from licensing or selling your work.

If someone wants to use your work, they typically must obtain your permission, often through a license, which may involve paying a fee.

The term of copyright protection varies by country but generally lasts for the life of the creator plus an additional number of years after their death (for example, 70 years in many jurisdictions).

After the copyright expires, the work enters the public domain, allowing anyone to use it without seeking permission.

There are exceptions to copyright that allow for limited use of copyrighted material without the owner’s permission, such as fair use in the United States, which permits uses for commentary, criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, among others.

This concept acknowledges the importance of balancing copyright owners’ rights with the public’s interest in free expression and access to information.