It is important for business leaders in Chicago to understand How does Copyright Last? and what forms of content are protected under copyright law, so that they can maximize their business potential while avoiding litigation. Copyright is considered an essential piece of intellectual property law, and serves to protect any form of original expression. Whether it is a novel, a painting, a video, or a website, copyright provides the creator with certain exclusive rights, and is instrumental in providing people with the incentive to create works of literature, music, film and technology.

In the United States, copyright law is defined and enforced under the authority of the Copyright Act of 1976. Under this law, copyright protection is given to works that are both tangible and permanent. This means that original art, literature, music, and other forms of expression must be fixed in a physical object in order to be eligible for legal protection. This can include anything from a painting on canvas, to a digital file stored on a computer. Under this act, copyright protection is also extended to certain technological works, such as software code, designs, and engineering plans.

However, while all copyrighted works may be legally protected, the length of protection will differ depending on the type of work and when it was created. The law also varies when it comes to determining who is the legal "owner" of the copyright. Generally speaking, the author of the work in question is the legal owner of the copyright. But, if the work was created under an employer, then the employer is considered the legal owner and has the exclusive right to distribute, reproduce, and create a derivative of the work without the consent of the author.

When it comes to determining "how long does copyright last?" the answer largely depends on a few factors. Firstly, in the United States copyright law is set as a term of protection with an expiration date. Generally speaking, this protection will last for the life of the author plus seventy years. However, if the work was published anonymously or under a pseudonym, or if the work was created as part of a larger collective work (such as a movie or a song), then the copyright protection will last for 95 years from the first publication or 120 years from the creation of the work, whichever occurs first.

Secondly, when it comes to assessing the length of protection, it is also important to consider international and other federal copyright laws. Specifically, any works that are created by a foreign copyright law and distributed in the United States, must abide by US copyright laws and regulations as well. This means that any copies, reproductions, or other forms of exploitation must be approved by the US Copyright Office. The United States is signatory to The Berne Convention, and this ensures that all works that originate from certain countries are eligible for similar levels of protection and enforcement when crossing international borders.

Finally, copyright protection is not a static concept and may be subject to alteration or amendment depending on specific circumstances. For example, there is currently an ongoing lawsuit regarding the Sonics-Universal settlement, which has questioned the validity of the Copyright Act to copyright protection when it comes to works of musical recordings. This case highlights the fact that copyright law can and does evolve, and business leaders must remain up-to-date with important legal rulings over copyright.

To ensure that business executives in Chicago make the most of the copyright legal landscape, it is important that they consult experienced, well established attorneys and that they remain informed on any changes to copyright law. UpCounsel provides business leaders with experienced attorneys that possess an intimate understanding of local regulations. With UpCounsel’s network of experienced lawyers, you can trust that they will provide top-tier services at competitive rates.


Copyright Protection,

United States Copyright Act,

Berne Convention