Copyright Law Explained
Anybody who works in a creative field needs to have a good understanding of copyright law. The law is complex and a thorough understanding is not really possible for most people so having a good lawyer who specializes in the field is important. Even so it is still a good idea to make sure that you are aware of how copyrights work and what is and isn't protected by copyright law.

A copyright protects the legal rights of creative and artistic works, the power to create copyright laws is included in the constitution. The purpose of copyright law is to encourage artistic and creative works by making sure that the creators have legal control over their works. Under the current law a copyright extends until seventy years after the death of the author. There are a number of different types of works that can be copyrighted, including literary, dramatic, musical, and pictorial works. There are several other types of works that can also be copyrighted, you should talk to a copyright lawyer if you have any doubts as to whether something can be copyrighted.

Strictly speaking you don't need to do anything to get a copyright, any original work is copyrighted as soon as it is created. However if it goes to a lawsuit it is a good idea to have proof that you created the work and when so it is a good idea to submit it to the Copyright Office. Not all original works can be copyrighted, you can't copyright an idea. You can get a copyright for the expression of an idea but you can't copyright the idea itself. If you were hired by somebody else to create a work for them then the copyright would belong to them and not to you.

There are certain rights that a copyright is designed to protect these include the right to reproduce the work, and the right to prepare derivative works. You also have the right to publicly display or perform the work and to distribute copies of the work. There are however limits to these protections, the first sale principal basically allows you to sell copies work but not to control what the buyer does with his copy. There is the fair use exception which allows the work to be used for specific purposes.

If somebody uses your work in a way that infringes on your copyright there are legal steps that you can take to protect your rights - especially now because copyright is a tough concept on the internet. You will want to contact a lawyer in order to make sure that your rights are protected. The usually procedure that this will take is to send a cease and desist letter, if that is not enough to put a stop to the infringement it may be necessary to file a lawsuit. At this point your lawyer will also file a preliminary injunction to stop the infringement until the lawsuit has been settled. There may be a negotiated settlement to the lawsuit or it may be necessary to continue with until you recieve a judgement.