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You have probably seen a copyright notice when you opened a book to one of the first pages or at the end of a movie. It is one of the those things you may not know about, but have wondered just how it gets there. Copyright notices are usually placed in a fairly obvious place on the work, such as on one of the first three pages of a book, at the bottom of a piece of sheet music, or on the label of a recording made by audio technology.

Copyright and patent laws give the owner of a registered copyright a “bundle of rights,” granted by A sample of a copyright notice given by technology copyright and patent lawsCongress to protect works of authorship. Protection commences when the work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression from which it can be reproduced, such as pencil and paper, magnetic tape, 3-D object, whether or not it has been published yet and/or registered at the U.S. Copyright Office.

Who owns these rights? As indicated in the technology copyright and patent laws, a copyright is a grant of certain rights by the U.S. Government. Typically the owner of the "bundle" of rights is the person who created the copyrightable work. In some cases, however, a person may have been hired to create the copyrightable work for someone else, in exchange for compensation.

If you have created something such as a book, music, or other work of art, the copyright laws entitle you to register for copyright protection for your work. The services of a firm like Cincy Patents can help. You can do this provided your work is one of the following:

  • Literary works: e.g., a book, cartoons, poems, television scripts, periodicals or software
  • Music and accompanying lyrics
  • Dramatic works and accompanying music
  • Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  • Motion pictures (Movies), audio-visual works, sound recordings
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works
  • Compilations of works: e.g., an anthology
  • Derivative works: e.g., translations, abridgements, etc.

If the work that you have created falls in one of the following, then no copyright notice is attainable:

  • Abstract ideas, procedures, processes, systems, concepts and principles
  • Works not fixed in tangible form: e.g., speech or play which has not been recorded or written
  • Titles, names, short phrases, slogans, symbols, type fonts, mere listing of contents
  • Works consisting entirely of public domain information







Once a copyright notice has been issued, you'll see a calculated placement of each of the following:

  • The symbol ©, “copyright” or “Copr”
  • The year of first publication
  • The name of the copyright owner


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