property laws are designed to protect works of art, literature,
music, ideas, inventions, or designs.
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.
is most broadly recognized as copyright law, which deals primarily
with all things artistic.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
More about intellectual property law around the Web:
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.
Property Law Server - Information about intellectual
property law including patent, trademark and copyright, with
related resources, feature articles and forums.
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
Intellectual Property - About.com guide with extensive
information on registering copyrights, trademarks and patents,
how to's and resources on searching for existing patents and
trademarks, related glossary.
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.