At the Copyright Alliance, we regularly receive questions from artists and creators regarding copyright issues. Because there are numerous resources available to help answer those questions, we have created a Frequently Asked Questions guide incorporating resources from the U.S. Copyright Office, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, and also from the Alliance’s membership to help navigate the many copyright issues people may encounter on a day-to-day basis.
The Copyright Office’s website is an incredibly useful resource for finding answers to a variety of basic questions relating to copyright, including copyright definitions, registration information, and protection issues. A few of the basic questions that the Copyright Office offers introductory answers to include:
• What is copyright?
• What does copyright protect?
• How is copyright different from a patent or trademark?
• How do I register my copyright?
• Do I have to register with the U.S. Copyright Office to be protected?
The answers to these questions, along with the answers to hundreds of other basic copyright questions, can be found below and on the Copyright Office’s FAQ page by clicking here.
The Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) is also a very useful resource for basic copyright inquiries, including those related to small businesses such as:
The PTO’s website answers these questions and also provides other resources relating to Fair Use and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which can be found below and by clicking here.
Below you can also find answers to Copyright Alliance's Frequently Asked Questions:
• What is copyright?
• What types of things can you copyright?
• How is a copyright different from a patent or a trademark?
• When is my work protected by a copyright?
• Do I have to register with the Copyright Office to be protected?
• Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?
• Where do I find information about registering a copyright?
• What is copyright licensing?
• How do I obtain permission to use works?
• What does it mean when a work is “Made for Hire"?
• Why does it matter if a work is “Made for Hire”?
• What is the difference between “Published” vs. “Unpublished” works, why does it matter, and how does the difference relate to Online vs. Print publishing?
• Am I allowed to use archived or public domain works that are found online?
• How do I use Digital Watermarking on photos and what are the purposes of its use?
• What does it mean when a creative work has “All Rights Reserved” attached with the work?
• What is a Creative Commons license?
This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.