Copyright law is an important part of the legal system in New York. This article will provide answers to many frequently asked questions about copyright law in New York, particularly pertaining to ownership, infringement, and other related issues. Understanding the law is critical for any business or individual that creates and uses copyrighted material, and this article provides a comprehensive overview of the topics that are most important.

What is a Copyright?

A copyright is a legal protection for the creator of an original work. A copyright grants the originator exclusive rights to use, reproduce, modify, publish, and sell a work to the exclusion of everyone else. Any type of work can be copyrighted, including written works, music, art, videos, and computer software. In the United States, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years.

Who is the owner of a copyright in New York?

The author of the work is the default owner of the copyright. Other people may be able to claim an ownership interest in certain circumstances, such as when the work is created under an employment contract. It is also possible for an existing owner to transfer the copyright to another person or company. In certain cases, the transfer of a copyright may need to be registered with the Copyright Office.

How does a copyright impact the use of copyrighted material?

A copyright applies to any use of the work, including reproduction, modification, publication, and sale. For example, an author who owns the copyright to a book can control who has access to the book and how it is used. He or she can also decide to license the book for a fee and control who has the right to use it and under what conditions it can be used. The owner of the copyright also has the exclusive right to authorize the publication of derivative works based on the original work.

What is copyright infringement in New York?

Copyright infringement is any act of using a copyrighted work without permission from the copyright owner. The act of copying a copyrighted work without permission is the most obvious form of copyright infringement, but copyright infringement also includes using the work to create a derivative work, distributing copies of the work, and publicly performing the work. Courts may impose monetary damages and other penalties for copyright infringement.

What are the defenses against copyright infringement in New York?

The primary defense against copyright infringement is a claim of fair use. Fair Use is a legal doctrine that states that limited uses of copyrighted material can be made without the permission of the copyright holder if it is for a particular purpose such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. Courts will consider a variety of factors when determining whether a particular use is fair including the purpose of the use, the nature of the work, the amount of the work that is used, and the impact that the use has on the copyright holder.


Copyright law is an important part of the legal system in New York. The information contained in this article should provide a basic understanding of the most commonly asked questions about copyright. However, because of the complexity of copyright law, it is always best to seek the counsel of an experienced copyright lawyer who can advise you on the specific laws in New York.



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