A copyright is a form of IP protection provided by the laws of the United States to creators of “original works of authorship,” both published and unpublished. The Copyright Act gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, and create derivatives of the creator’s work. Copyrights may be licensed, sold, donated, and litigated.

What is copyrightable material?

Many things are protectable by copyright, including literary works, music (and its lyrics), movies and plays (and their music, choreography, and blocking), pictures, graphic designs, sculptures, architectural works, and software.

Is federal registration required to gain copyrights?

No, federal copyright registration is not required. Copyright protection is automatic as soon as the work is fixed into a tangible medium. However, registration is necessary to file a copyright infringement action to protect your content. If you win your infringement action, registration also may entitle you to a cash award for the infringement.

Registration costs between $35-$400, excluding legal fees.

Is a financial investment required when registering?

If UNHI decides to file for copyright registration, there is no personal financial investment required of the innovator.

The copyright owner has a bundle of exclusive rights:
Reproduction Right:  The right to make copies
Adaptation Right:  The right to make or allow others to make derivatives, or add their own creative elements to your work
Distribution Right: The right to distribute copies of the work to the public
Public Performance Right: The right to perform the work in public
Public Display Right: The right to display copies of the work to the public
The copyright owner has the right to separate out any of these rights when granting permissions to others.

Including a notice informs the public that a work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright owner so that it’s easier to ask for permission to use the work, and shows the year of first publication. It informs the public that the work is not in the public domain, and positions the author as a subject matter expert. A notice also helps the author control how others make use of the work and maintain fidelity to the research that created the work.

For works owned by the university, use the following template:
[© Year of first publication] University of New Hampshire.  
For example: © 2017 University of New Hampshire. All Rights Reserved.

What is fair use?

Fair use is a defense to infringement and not something you can automatically assume applies to your work.

Contact Information

UNHInnovation is here to help you copyrights.

Jenna Matheny
Director of Technology Transfer

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