Copyright is a term describing laws to reserve the rights of creative works to their original creators, or subsequent legal owners, for a specific period of time. A copyright is not the same thing as an industrial patent, which protects inventions and designs of tangible physical objects. Copyrights are instead related to intellectual property-music, books, art works, movies and films, and technology like computer software and databases. IPR insurance provides the copyright owner with the resources needed to take action against unauthorized use of intellectual property and receive compensation.
Copyright laws typically grant the author or creator-or another party who legally holds the rights to the creation-the legal right to either permit or prohibit particular acts involving his or her unique work. These include: Reproduction in any media that might be applicable such as print or sound recordings, distribution of copies for sale or free, and performance, broadcasting or any other dissemination in a public media. Translation into additional languages and conversion or adaptation into some other genre -adapting a book into a Broadway play, for instance-is also limited by the copyright holder.
Copyright laws in the entertainment industry incorporate limitations that allow for use of creative expression without fulfilling the usual procedures to gain rights or compensate the creator. Often, if a creative work is not written down or formally recorded in some manner-certain dance choreography, for example-its use may not be restricted by copyright. Another example of copyright limitation would be governmental decisions, transcripts of legal texts and other official documents. These are generally open to free use by anyone.
Free and Not-So-Free Use
Free use is another copyright limitation, which allows use of creative work in the entertainment industry without authorization by the copyright owner or compensation to the copyright owner. Free use typically applies to scenarios where reasonably small portions of a larger work are excerpted or quoted and the name of the original creator of the work is properly included in mention. Free use also extends to using portions of a creative work for the purpose of education or for use in news reporting. If a copyrighted work falls under the category of a non-voluntary license, the portion of work may still be used without specific authorization; however, the holder of the copyright must be compensated. This is another scenario in which the resources of IPR insurance could be critical to receiving payment for copyright violation-particularly for the smaller, individual player in the entertainment industry who may not possess the assets or clout to pursue violations without insurance backing.
No copyright lasts forever. A copyright is valid for a specific span of time during which the rights of the copyright owner are fully enforceable under the law. Generally, the beginning of the copyright is considered to be the moment the work has been created or placed in some permanent form such as written down, recorded or photographed or filmed. Copyright laws are designed so the copyright will outlive its original owner by some period of time so that his or her heirs may benefit from the original creator's work. In the United States and the European Union, for example, the laws state that the copyright of works of creative and entertainment arts remain viable for 70 years following the death of the original creator.
IPR insurance is a valuable complement to the array of copyright laws that protect creators in the entertainment industry. It provides the assets and security to allow parties of all sizes to compete on a level playing field in the enforcement of copyright laws and obtain just, proper compensation when they are violated.