Copyrights are a way for those who create original works to maintain ownership of their work. When people think of copyright law, they often think of music, books, inventions, and films. These are some of the most notable instances where copyright law is needed. If a creative or scientific product is successful, others will want to forge copies of it and seek to profit.
Thankfully, copyright laws provide a way for people to claim exclusive ownership of their creations. When someone has an established legal copyright for their work, they hold all the rights to it and will have a legal case against anyone who copies it, hence the term, copyright.
Copyright Laws and American History
Copyrights have become an essential part of American culture and heritage. Approximately 45 million copyrights have been filed and archived in the copyright catalog. This catalog houses all the registered copyrights filed in America from the years of 1870 to 1977. Records from 1977 to present have been digitized and automated.
A significant portion of the musical, scientific, artistic, and literary creations of America and several foreign countries are held in these files. They serve as a research supplement to the primary catalog of the Library of Congress.
Records of Copyright Laws
The Copyright Office keeps records of transactions that have to do with the licenses it grants. These records are readily accessible to the public and include:
- Transmission of copyrighted scripts and screenplays portrayed on cable television and satellite
- Creation and dissemination of phonorecords
- Public performances of music under copyright from jukeboxes during the period of 1978-1989
- Initial notices of distribution issued to manufacturers or importers of audio devices capable of digital recording.
Copyright laws are an important part of American history and capitalistic society.
Without them, it would be difficult to distribute music, show films, or sell books or inventions without fear of copycats stealing your work. Obtaining a copyright ensures that those who make valuable contributions to society will have an incentive to continue doing so.