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MAIN Arrow to Home Life Home Life Arrow to Legal Advisor Home Legal Guide Arrow to Intellectual Property Law Intellectual Property Law

ideaIntellectual property laws are designed to protect works of art, literature, music, ideas, inventions, or designs.

More specifically, they grant rights to their creators as the sole beneficiaries of any monetary compensation that derives from their work, and to prevent it from being copied or infringed upon by others.

Intellectual property law is divided into two different categories, copyright law and industrial properties.

Copyright law

The first is most broadly recognized as copyright law, which deals primarily with all things artistic.

Paintings, books, music, movies, and even software are covered under copyright law. Copyright laws can protect an artist from their work being modified or duplicated in some way or, conversely, encourage its common use depending on the kind of copyright it enjoys and the intentions of the artist.

The controversy over copyright law

Copyright laws exist to give creators of some kind of work exclusive rights pertaining to that work, such as the rights of publication, adaptation, and distribution. There are a variety of different copyrights available, and creators can do anything from allowing their work to be freely distributed in the public domain, to completely disallowing their work to be adapted in any way.

Punishment for copyright infringement is typically a civil matter and not a criminal one
Copyright laws, like all intellectual property laws are quite necessary, but have recently become the subject of under heavy criticism due to innovations like the Internet. On the Web, copyright laws are extremely difficult to enforce within such a massive and relatively anonymous medium, making copyright infringement very easy.

This is in fact a major issue within copyright law today, as artists are forced to adopt the prevailing attitude that a more liberal stance should be taken towards more relaxed copyright law, chiefly brought upon by the prevalence of works now widely disseminated online. As technology makes it easier and easier to break copyright laws, the debate will likely continue to evolve, and the future of copyright law will remain uncertain.

Industrial properties

The second category of intellectual property law is called industrial properties, which deals with work created for commercial purposes. A design for a new piece of technology, for instance, is commonly protected by patent and/or trademark, and will give the creator the right to protect the invention from being unlawfully used by others, and also to license it so that others may use it under certain terms and conditions. Like copyright law, the point of industrial properties law is to provide a financial incentive for the creation of intellectual property and simultaneously, protect the creator from having his or her invention duplicated without consent.

also see in Business -> Art Jobs & Industry Resources

also see in Art & Literature -> Writer's Markets


More about intellectual property law around the Web:


World Intellectual Property Organization - International clearinghouse of facts and information on copyright law and trademarks, industrial design, with a searchable database of international patents, related glossary, Webcasts, and more on the annual Intellectual Property Day celebration on April 26.

Intellectual Property Law Server - Information about intellectual property law including patent, trademark and copyright, with related resources, feature articles and forums.

Legal Research Guide - Intellectual Property Law - Although aimed at legal professionals, this resource directory offers information on a wide range of pertinent topics including copyright, fair use, trademark law and patents, with related news sources.

Frequently Asked Questions about Copyright - Answers to basic questions from the US Copyright Office with facts & information on copyright protections, how to register a copyright, comparisons to trademarks and patents, and related topics.

The information provided on these pages is intended as reference
only and does not constitute professional legal advice.


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