Terms to Know
Copyright: A copyright is a legal protection for certain created works that gives the owner exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and display the works.
Trademark: A trademark is a logo, symbol, or other mark used to identify businesses, products, or services that can be registered for legal protection and grant the owner exclusive rights.
Common Law Copyright: A common law copyright is a kind of copyright that exists after a work has been created. U.S. common law copyrights apply to any eligible work created on or after January 1, 1978 that has not been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.
Derivative Work: Derivative work is a type of created work that is based on a pre-existing, copyrighted work. It must be different enough to avoid infringement and often requires permission from the copyright owner of the original work.
DMCA: DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act and it was enacted in 1988. It includes multiple provisions for digital copyrights including anti-circumvention, safe harbor provisions, and online service provider liability.
Fair Use: Fair use is a rule under U.S. copyright law that allows for some use of copyrighted works without obtaining permission or paying royalties to the copyright owner. It is often (but not always) allowed in cases of education, research, news, commentary, and parody.
Intellectual Property: Intellectual property is any created intangible asset including inventions, processes, logos, books, music, software, artwork, and trade secrets.
Parody: A parody is a type of commentary, satire, or criticism that uses parts of an existing work to make its statement. It is generally protected as fair use under U.S. copyright law.
Public Domain: The public domain is a collection of creative works that are not protected by copyright and are free to copy, use, or distribute without permission or payment to the original owner. U.S. works published before 1926 are in the public domain. Anything newer may be protected by a copyright.