Copyright is a legal protection granted to the creator of an original intellectual work. It secures the creator certain exclusive rights in his or her work for a specified period of time. These rights allow the creator to control how their work is used, reproduced, distributed, and publicly performed or displayed.
The essential aspects of copyright are:
- Protection of Original Works: Copyright protects a wide variety of original works, including literature, music, movies, artwork, software, photographs, and more. It arises automatically once the work is created in a fixed form, without the need for registration.
- Exclusive rights of the author: Copyright gives the author or authors the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, publicly perform or display the work, create derivative works, and sell or license the work.
- Duration of Protection: The duration of copyright protection varies depending on the country in which the work was created, and can usually be many decades. After this period, the work enters the public domain and can be freely used by anyone.
- Fair Use and Exceptions: Although copyright law protects the author from unauthorized use of his work, there are also exceptions such as "fair use" in the USA or "Zitatrecht" in Germany. These allow others to use parts of the work for critical, educational or informative purposes under certain conditions