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A copyright is a legal right that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution, usually for a limited time. This means that the creator has the sole right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the work. The purpose of copyright laws is to protect the intellectual property of creators, such as authors, composers, filmmakers, and artists.


The phonetic pronunciation of the word “Copyright” is: /ˈkɒp.i.raɪt/

Key Takeaways

<ol><li>Copyright grants creators exclusive rights to control and distribute their original works. This includes works of literature, music, dramatic productions, and various other forms of intellectual property.</li><li>These rights are automatically granted at the moment of creation, requiring no formal registration. However, registering a copyright claim can be beneficial in legal situations, as it provides proof of ownership.</li><li>Violating copyright, such as unauthorized use or reproduction of copyrighted material, is considered illegal and can lead to both civil and criminal penalties.</li></ol>


Copyright is a crucial element in business and finance because it legally protects the original work of creators, be it in the form of software, books, music, art, or other intellectual properties. By securing copyrights, creators maintain exclusive rights to distribute, replicate, adapt, or display their work. This not only safeguards the commercial value and originality of their work but also stimulates innovation, creativity, competitiveness, and economic growth. Violation of copyrights, referred to as copyright infringement, can result in legal consequences, thus giving leverage to creators to monetize their work and prevent unauthorized use. Overall, copyright is a vital mechanism to protect investments made in knowledge, creativity, and innovation, forming the backbone of many businesses across industries.


Copyright serves a vital role in the field of finance and business. Its primary purpose is to provide protection to the creators or owners of original works, including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic production. A copyright grants the owner exclusive rights to reproduce the work, prepare derivative works, distribute copies, and display or perform the work publicly. This facilitates a manner of return on investment for creators and producers, who would otherwise have less incentive to create and develop new content if it could be freely copied and distributed by others.This legal right operates as a form of intellectual property that can be bought, sold, licensed, or otherwise transferred, making it a valuable asset in the business world. The recognition of copyright globally also aids in the prevention of unauthorized distribution of works by entities outside the jurisdiction of the copyright owner. This mechanism not only encourages creativity and innovation, but also supports economic growth by striking a balance between the benefits of creators and those of the public.


1. J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter Series: J.K. Rowling holds the copyright for the ‘Harry Potter’ series. This means she has exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, or license her creation. Any use of characters, plotlines, or other intellectual property from the series without her permission can be considered copyright infringement. 2. Disney and Mickey Mouse: Walt Disney Corporation keeps a very strict control over its intellectual property, especially its mascot, Mickey Mouse. They have been able to extend the copyright on the character multiple times, now set to expire in 2024. Any unlicensed use or reproduction of the copyrighted character could result in legal consequences. 3. The Beatles and their Song Catalog: Every song written by the Beatles are copyrighted material. The rights to their song catalog had been bought by Michael Jackson in 1985, which then passed onto Sony/ATV Music Publishing after his death. Any unauthorized use of their songs in commercials, films, or other profitable enterprise can be seen as copyright infringement.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Copyright?

A Copyright is a legal right that gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution, usually for a limited time, with the intent of enabling the creator (e.g. the author of a book, a musician, a photographer) to receive compensation for their intellectual effort.

How long does a Copyright last?

Generally, copyright lasts for the creator’s life plus 70 years. For works made for hire, the copyright lasts 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.

What types of work can be Copyrighted?

Works including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual creations can be copyrighted. This can be software, poetry, movies, music, architecture, etc.

Who owns the Copyright to a piece of work?

Generally, the author of the work or the author’s employer owns the copyright. However, the copyright owner can sell or license their rights to others.

Can Copyrights be transferred or sold?

Yes, copyrights are personal property rights and can be transferred or sold wholly or in portions.

What is the difference between a Copyright, a Patent, and a Trademark?

Copyrights, patents, and trademarks are all forms of intellectual property but they protect different types of assets. Copyright protects original works of authorship, a patent protects inventions or discoveries while a trademark typically protects brand names, logos, and slogans.

How do I register for a Copyright?

In many jurisdictions, a copyright is secured automatically upon creation of a work. However, a registered copyright provides legal evidence of ownership. Registration processes vary by country, but often involve submitting a copyright application to a governmental agency.

Is an international Copyright protection available?

There is no such thing as an ‘international copyright’ that will automatically protect an author’s works throughout the world. Protection against unauthorized use in a particular country depends on the national laws of that country. However, the majority of countries do offer protection to foreign works under certain conditions.

What is a Copyright infringement?

A copyright infringement occurs when someone uses the copyrighted work without the permission from the copyright holder, infringing certain rights granted to the copyright holder.

What is a Copyright notice and how should it look like?

A copyright notice is a statement placed on copies of the work to inform the public that the work is copyrighted. A typical Copyright notice should contain the Copyright symbol (©), the year of first publication, and the name of the copyright owner. Example: © 2022 Your Name.

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