This is the (copyrighted) work of a lawyer who specializes in copyright cases, but it is written in on-legalese for laymen—particularly for creative people—who have had only slight or no acquaintance with detailed points of law. The book lucidly explains how a variety of works—written literary, scholarly, and scientific material, music and dance scores, blueprints, and the many forms of visual art among them—can be protected through copyright by their creators. Conversely, since whatever the law does not keep safe for the creator is given over to the public, the author also makes clear what the rights of the would-be user or reproducer of these works are.
The book takes the reader through the intricacies of the 1976 copyright law, which came into effect in January 1978, although those parts of the old law that will continue to affect works that were copyrighted under the old statute are also explained in detail.
The basic boundaries of the law are presented as are definitions of key terms, such as “fixation” (the process by which a creation is made perceivable or tangible), “originality,” and “expression” (which includes the tenet that ideas are not copyrightable, only the forms of their expression). This leads to an explanation of joint ownership, subsidiary rights, registration of a claim, transfer procedures, compulsory licenses, infringement and “fair use,” the application of tax laws to copyrights, international aspects, and other pertinent topics.
Much practical legal advice is offered over the course of the book. The reader is taught what to watch for in copyright contracts, how to secure a copyright, and even what form to fill out in a given situation. The author is careful to present the penalties pitfalls that await the unregistered.