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Intention: For Publication
Read/Write Permissions: Open Access
19.02.2013 - Christopher Dyer - Sci-Mate
Copyright is intended to protect actual descriptions (including instructional texts), explanations, tests, images, illustrations, and literary works. As the US Copyright Office points out: "these categories should be viewed broadly. For example, computer programs and most compilations may be registered as literary works; maps and architectural plans may be registered as pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works.” It must, however, be noted that while it is possible to protect the description, explanation, and illustration through copyright, it is not possible to claim exclusive use of an idea, procedure, method, system, process, concept, principle, discovery, or device itself. For example, if you write a new scientific protocol, you own this description, while allowing others to perform the actual process without them having to ask you specifically. However, if someone wishes to publish or use your copyright of the description they must ask your permission to do so.
Unlike patenting intellectual property, copyright:
1. Does not isolate ideas and technology from the broader research community;
2. Copyright is not static. While patents are limited to their first description, copyrighted material can be re-copyrighted each time additional knowledge is added to it;
3. Does not require excessive legal and burocratic processing;
4. Lasts the life-time of the contributing author (or group of authors) plus 70 years; and
5. Is FREE.
 Claiming Copyright
The following are annotated notes taken from the US Copyright Office website.
No publication or registration or other action in the Copyright Office is required to secure copyright. Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and a work is “created” when it is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the first time. If a work is prepared over a period of time, the part of the work that is fixed on a particular date constitutes the created work as of that date.
Publication is no longer the key to obtaining federal copyright as it was under the Copyright Act of 1909. However, publication remains important to copyright owners as it in many cases demonstrates originality and a date when it occured in a fixed form.
When a work is published, it may bear a notice of copyright to identify the year of publication and the name of the copyright owner and to inform the public that the work is protected by copyright. The use of a copyright notice is no longer required under U.S. law, although it is often beneficial. Use of the notice may be important because it informs the public that the work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright owner, and shows the year of first publication. Furthermore, in the event that a work is infringed, if a proper notice of copyright appears on the published copy or copies to which a defendant in a copyright infringement suit had access, then no weight shall be given to such a defendant’s interposition of a defense based on innocent infringement in mitigation of actual or statutory damages, except as provided in section 504(c)(2) of the copyright law. Innocent infringement occurs when the infringer did not realize that the work was protected.
The use of the copyright notice is the responsibility of the copyright owner and does not require advance permission from, or registration with, the Copyright Office. The notice for visually perceptible copies should contain all the following three elements:
1. The symbol © (the letter C in a circle), or the word “Copyright,” or the abbreviation “Copr.”; and
2. The year of first publication of the work. In the case of compilations or derivative works incorporating previously published material, the year date of first publication of the compilation or derivative work is sufficient. The year date may be omitted where a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, with accompanying textual matter, if any, is reproduced in or on greeting cards, postcards, stationery, jewelry, dolls, toys, or any useful article; and
3. The name of the owner of copyright in the work, or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner.
Example: © 2006 John Doe
The “C in a circle” notice is used only on “visually perceptible copies.” Certain kinds of works—for example, musical, dramatic, and literary works—may be fixed not in “copies” but by means of sound in an audio recording. Since audio recordings such as audio tapes and phonograph disks are “phonorecords” and not “copies,” the “C in a circle” notice is not used to indicate protection of the underlying musical, dramatic, or literary work that is recorded.