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A copyright is an intangible right granted by statute to the originator of certain literary or artistic productions, including authors, artists, musicians, composers, and publishers, among others. For a limited period of time, copyright owners are given the exclusive privilege to produce, copy, and distribute their creative works for publication or sale.

Copyright is distinct from other forms of legal protection granted to originators of creative works such as patents, which give inventors exclusive rights over use of their inventions, and trademarks, which give businesses exclusive rights over words, symbols, and other devices affixed to goods for the purpose of signifying their authenticity to the public. All three types of legal protection comprise an area of law known as intellectual property.

Inside Copyright