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Understanding copyright law and who owns artistic works

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2020 | Copyright Law

Most people have heard of copyright, but they may not understand exactly what it means. Though it is a complex field with many facets, there are a few basic ideas that pertain to most created works. This is the case no matter what medium the work may be, whether it is a song or a photograph. Artists of all kinds here in New York may benefit from a basic understanding of copyright law. Here are a few guidelines regarding who exactly owns a certain copyright.

There are two basic categories of those who own a copyright, and the first is the artist or person who created the work. When a work is created into an actual form, and not just an idea, the copyright belongs to the author or artist. That means that a recording of a song, a physical copy of a screenplay or something similar indicates that the copyright belongs to that person who generated it.

The other category involves artistic works created for someone who hired the artist. In this case, the employer or company is the one who holds the copyright because the work was made as part of employment. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a free lance artist doesn’t own the copyright of artistic works someone asks them to create. Rather, this idea pertains to things like an article written for a website owned by a company that employs the author. Other examples include translations of works, stories included in an anthology or even a chart appearing in a textbook.

Though there is overlap in these categories, one thing remains constant. The best way for an artist to protect his or her work is by consulting a copyright law attorney. New York artists need peace of mind that their creations are legally protected so they can focus on what they do best – creating.