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Copyrights - Scope of Copyright Protection

If you are an author of an original work and worried sick about the scope of the protection of your favorite work then you should not miss this page! It talks about the scope of the copyright protection.

Copyright protection generally gives the owner of the copyright the exclusive right to do the following:

- To reproduce the work
- To prepare derivative works based upon the work
- To distribute copies of the work to the public
- To perform the work publicly
- To display the copyrighted work publicly, and
- In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

The owner may also authorize others to exercise these rights. The general rule is that copyrights last for 60 years. But there is a difference of start date between certain types of original works.

1. In the case of original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works the 60-year period is counted from the year following the death of the author.

2. In the case of cinematograph films, sound recordings, photographs, posthumous publications, anonymous and pseudonymous publications, works of government and works of international organisations, the 60-year period is counted from the date of publication.

However, there are some very important limitations on the reach of copyright protections.

1. Doctrine of fair use is the most important of the copyright limitations. This allows others to use portions of copyrighted works for purposes such as reviews, commentary, news and scholarship.

2. Items which are not copyrightable, such as titles, names, common facts and ideas are not protected.

3. Some works are in the public domain and may be used by anyone. This includes works where the copyright has expired.

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