Copyright refers to the legal right of the owner of intellectual property. In simpler terms, copyright is the right to copy. This means that the original creators of products and anyone they give authorisation to are the only ones with the exclusive right to reproduce the work.

Copyright law gives creators of original material the exclusive right to further use and duplicate that material for a given amount of time. Once a copyright expires, the copyrighted item becomes public domain.

Key points:

  • Copyright law protects creators of original material from unauthorized duplication or use.
  • For an original work to be protected by copyright laws, it has to be in tangible form.
  • In the U.S., the work of creators usually is protected by copyright laws until 70 years after their death.
  • Other forms of protection for property that cannot be copyrighted include trademarks and patents.

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