The U.S.A. copyright

Find out the copyright regulation in the U.S.A.
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Welcome to the U.S.A. copyright section

To protect efficaciously your work through copyright you need the help of an expert.

Avv. Chiara Morbidi

Chiara Morbidi, Esq.

Head of the Legal Department

Also the current American Copyright Act, like the Italian one, states that no deposit is necessary for the protection of a work, as the copyright is automatically secured from the time the work is created, i.e. fixed for the first time in a copy or sound recording. Nevertheless, it is often advisable to file at the Washington’s Copyright Office the original works in order to obtain evidence of the work’s creation date and get a filing certificate. In fact, if it is filed within 5 years from the publishing of the work, the registration is an incontestable proof of the copyright validity in the case of judicial proceeding in the U.S.A.

  1. Works that can be protected
  2. Possible applicants
  3. Protection duration
1

Works that can be protected

The SIAE, on request, can deal with all the fulfilments related to the works at the Washington’s Copyright Office. Particularly, the original works can be filed, as long as they are fixed in a tangible expressive form and belong to one of the following categories:

  • Literary works, software included;
  • Musical works, including the accompanying words;
  • Dramatic works, including the accompanying music;
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works;
  • Motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
  • Sound recordings;
  • Architectural works.

Not only the unpublished works can be filed, including those of foreign origins, but also the works published for the first time in the U.S.A. or in another country where a Copyright Agreement has been signed, or rather works created by a citizen of a country bound by such an Agreement.

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2

Possible applicants

The author or the parties having gained the rights by the same author can file the deposit. In the case of a work on commission the work’s author will be the employer or the customer, as considered by the American law.

3

Protection duration

The registration starts from the date when the Copyright Office receives the material, on condition that the deposit is correct. Usually it will take about 8 months before obtaining the relative filing certificate.

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