Copyright law is a set of legal obligations and governmental protections protecting individuals and corporations who create original content, such as films, books, music, photographs, artistic works, software, and other material works. This includes the protection of a business’s copyrighted works from being reproduced or distributed for profits. It is an important part of the legal and business landscape; understanding the laws and the regulations is essential for any business that creates, uses, or even stores copyrighted material.

Copyright is a form of intellectual property and is governed by laws that are set at a federal level. Despite being largely uniform across the US, there are various short statements and nuances of the copyright law that must be considered relative to the state the business is based in. This article will in-depth overview copyright law in general, and touch on the nuances of copyright regulation in the state of New York.

General Overview of Copyright Law

Copyright law was designed to protect the legal rights of any party that creates, publishes, vessels, or otherwise conceives an original work. The purpose of this law is to allow creators of works to benefit from their original artistic expression, rather than permitting another party to replicate or copy the work in order to make a financial gain.

In the US, copyright law is fairly uniform and is based on the US Constitution, and the Copyright Act of 1976. The Copyright Act explains that individuals and corporations, no matter where they are located in the US, have exclusive rights over any work that they create unless certain specifics are put into into place. These rights include the exclusive rights to reproduce the work, to prepare derivative works, to be able to distribute and perform publicly, display publicly, and to reproduce.

The US Copyright Office also allows those who have created the material to be able to register the work, showing that it is an original work and that has has legal protection by the US government. This registration process is voluntary but is generally seen as a way to help prove the ownership of the work in the event that any copyright violation or dispute about ownership arises.

Overview of Copyright in New York

As mentioned, although copyright law is generally uniform across the US, it is important to take into account the nuances of copyright law in the state the business is located in. For example, the majority of jurisdictions in the US follow a three-year statute for copyright infringement, however, New York copyright law functions under the two-year period. Furthermore, in New York, a rebuttable presumption of ownership is applied if an infringement occurs within two years of the work being published--in other words, a element of proof is given to the party accused of infringing the copyright, rather than the accuser.

It is also important to note the rules and regulations of any municipality within the state you are located in. In New York City, the Department's of Consumer Affairs (DCA), Business Center, and certain other agencies are the responsible agents to review and decide questions of copyright infringement and violations. It is also important to be aware of New York's Intellectual Property Law, which regulates domestic and foreign trademarks, service marks, and trade names, copyrights, and patents.

End thoughts

Copyright law is a complex, ever-growing body of law that is designed to protect the rights of any entity that creates an original work. While the law is largely uniform across the United States, it is important to take into account the nuances of each state and municipality relative to the business' location. It is important to be aware of the rules and regulations of your local jurisdiction, as well as employers obligations for protecting their company's copyrighted works. Taking into account these regulations can prove paramount in order to maintain the integrity of the work for years to come.


Copyright Law,

Local Regulation,

New York