Dictionary of Law

copyright :: legal definition

Copyright - 1) n. the exclusive right of the author or creator of a literary or artistic property (such as a book, movie or musical composition) to print, copy, sell, license, distribute, transform to another medium, translate, record or perform or otherwise use (or not use) and to give it to another by will. As soon as a work is created and is in a tangible form (such as writing or taping) the work automatically has federal copyright protection. On any distributed and/or published work a notice should be affixed stating the word copyright, copy or c, with the name of the creator and the date of copyright (which is the year of first publication). The notice should be on the title page or the page immediately following and for graphic arts on a clearly visible or accessible place. A work should be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office by submitting a registration form and two copies of the work with a fee which a) establishes proof of earliest creation and publication, b) is required to file a lawsuit for infringement of copyright, c) if filed within three months of publication, establishes a right to attorneys' fees in an infringement suit. Copyrights cover the following: literary, musical and dramatic works, periodicals, maps, works of art (including models), art reproductions, sculptural works, technical drawings, photographs, prints (including labels), movies and other audiovisual works, computer programs, compilations of works and derivative works, and architectural drawings. Not subject to copyright are short phrases, titles, extemporaneous speeches or live unrecorded performances, common information, government publications, mere ideas, and seditious, obscene, libelous and fraudulent work. For any work created from 1978 to date, a copyright is good for the author's life, plus 50 years, with a few exceptions such as work "for hire" which is owned by the one commissioning the work for a period of 75 years from publication. After that it falls into the public domain. Many, but not all, countries recognize international copyrights under the "Universal Copyright Convention," to which the United States is a party.

See also: infringement plagiarism public domain trademark and Related Law Terms ↓

Related Law Terms

abandoned property :: n. property left behind (often by a tenant) intent ... -use. See also: abandon abandonment
abandonment :: n. the act of intentionally and permanently giving ... : abandon abandoned property patent
abuse of discretion :: n. a polite way of saying a trial judge has made s ... partner's realistic ability to pay.
acknowledgment :: n. the section at the end of a document where a no ... me leases and various other papers.
admit :: v. 1) to state something is true in answering a co ... tted." See also: admission evidence
adoption :: n. the taking of a child into one's family, creati ... the child are met. See also: adopt
adverse possession :: n. a means to acquire title to land through obviou ... o: possession prescriptive easement
agency :: n. the relationship of a person (called the agent) ... ondeat superior scope of employment
answer :: n. in law, a written pleading filed by a defendant ... emurrer general denial verification
apparent authority :: n. the appearance of being the agent of another (e ... e also: agency ostensible authority
appeal :: 1) v. to ask a higher court to reverse the decisio ... ng, as in "he has filed an appeal."
Attorney General :: n. in each state and the federal government the hi ... izenry. See also: Solicitor General
attorney's fee :: n. the payment for legal services. It can take sev ... ees in the particular type of case.
bankruptcy :: n. a federal system of statutes and courts which p ... y proceedings trustee in bankruptcy
bar examination :: n. the examination given in each state by either t ... n that district. See also: attorney
Bill of Rights :: n. the first ten amendments to the federal Constit ... ved to the states or to the people.
certificate of title :: n. generally, the title document for a motor vehic ... a "pink slip." See also: pink slip
child custody :: n. a court's determination of which parent, relati ... pport custody divorce joint custody
citation :: n. 1) a notice to appear in court due to the proba ... se is not in point." See also: cite
civil :: adj. 1) that part of the law that encompasses busi ... also: civil liberties civil rights
civil rights :: n. those rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, ... ill of Rights civil civil liberties
claim against a governmental agency :: n. any time one believes he/she has a right to pay ... orter than other types of lawsuits.
claim in bankruptcy :: n. the written claim filed by persons or businesse ... : bankruptcy bankruptcy proceedings
class action :: n. a lawsuit filed by one or more people on behalf ... ees usually require court approval.
clerk :: n. 1) an official or employee who handles the busi ... stocking shelves, or counter sales.
comity :: n. when one court defers to the jurisdiction of an ... of cases to which comity may apply.
community property :: n. property and profits received by a husband and ... and distribution separate property
comparative negligence :: n. a rule of law applied in accident cases to dete ... utory negligence damages negligence
complaint :: n. the first document filed with the court (actual ... g prayer service of process summons
constitution :: n. the fundamental, underlying document which esta ... ts common law constitutional rights
constitutional rights :: n. rights given or reserved to the people by the U ... e also: Bill of Rights constitution
constructive notice :: n. a fiction that a person got notice even though ... personally. See also: constructive
contingent fee :: n. a fee to a lawyer which will be due and payable ... epend on the outcome are unethical.
contract :: 1) n. an agreement with specific terms between two ... n oral contract unilateral contract
conversion :: n. a civil wrong (tort) in which one converts anot ... the crime of theft. See also: theft
corporation :: n. an organization formed with state governmental ... ation public corporation securities
counterclaim :: n. a retaliatory claim by a defendant against a pl ... d. See also: answer cross-complaint
court costs :: n. fees for expenses that the courts pass on to at ... ee also: cost bill prevailing party
covenant :: 1) n. a promise in a written contract or a deed of ... o compete deed restrictive covenant
creditor's claim :: n. a claim required to be filed in writing, in a p ... e also: claim in bankruptcy probate
d.b.a. :: n. short for "doing business as," when a person or ... that is registered with the state.
defamation :: n. the act of making untrue statements about anoth ... comment libel public figure slander
default :: 1) n. failure to respond to a summons and complain ... default judgment notice of default
demurrer :: n. (dee-muhr-ur) a written response to a complaint ... demurrer. See also: motion pleading
descent :: n. the rules of inheritance established by law in ... on inheritance intestate succession
discrimination :: n. unequal treatment of persons, for a reason whic ... qual rights. See also: civil rights
divorce :: 1) n. the termination of a marriage by legal actio ... y separate property spousal support
double jeopardy :: n. placing someone on trial a second time for an o ... that occurred thirty years earlier.
easement :: n. the right to use the real property of another f ... rstandings at the time of creation.
eminent domain :: n. the power of a governmental entity (federal, st ... ngs. See also: condemn condemnation
equal opportunity :: 1) n. a right supposedly guaranteed by both federa ... be so. See also: affirmative action
equal protection of the law :: n. the right of all persons to have the same acces ... laws." See also: due process of law
estate tax :: n. generally a federal tax on the transfer of a de ... commonly called an inheritance tax.
fair comment :: n. a statement of opinion (no matter how ludicrous ... amation libel public figure slander
fair use :: n. the non-competitive right to use of copyrighted ... for a royalty. See also: copyright
fee :: n. 1) absolute title in land, from old French, fie ... See also: attorney's fee fee simple
fee simple :: n. absolute title to land, free of any other claim ... e:" or similar words. See also: fee
fee tail :: n. an old feudal expression for a title to real pr ... rest only. See also: fee fee simple
felony :: n. 1) a crime sufficiently serious to be punishabl ... ion. See also: misdemeanor sentence
file :: 1) v. to deposit with the clerk of the court a wri ... rrespondence and notes on the case.
foreclosure :: n. the system by which a party who has loaned mone ... ced sale mortgage notice of default
forgery :: n. 1) the crime of creating a false document, alte ... See also: counterfeit forger fraud
franchise :: 1) n. a right granted by the government to a perso ... on property, income or profits tax.
fraud :: n. the intentional use of deceit, a trick or some ... audulent conveyance intrinsic fraud
grace period :: n. a time stated in a contract in which a late pay ... the contract, i.e. your insurance.
grandfather clause :: n. 1) a clause in a statute or zoning ordinance (p ... Such laws are now unconstitutional.
hearsay rule :: n. the basic rule that testimony or documents whic ... interest dying declaration hearsay
highway :: n. any public street, road, turnpike or canal whic ... rivilege and not an absolute right.
incest :: n. sexual intercourse between close blood relative ... ily genes carrying such weaknesses.
incorporate :: v. 1) to obtain an official charter or articles of ... te by reference incorporation stock
independent contractor :: n. a person or business which performs services fo ... ue independence. See also: employee
infancy :: n. although the popular use of the word means the ... nority. See also: ad litem minority
infringement :: n. 1) a trespassing or illegal entering. 2) in the ... patent plagiarism royalty trademark
insurance :: n. a contract (insurance policy) in which the insu ... t clause Workers' Compensation Acts
interest :: n. 1) any and all, partial or total right to prope ... nal property real property standing
interlocutory decree :: n. a court judgment which is temporary and not int ... ppeared to waste the parties' time.
interrogatories :: n. a set of written questions to a party to a laws ... ing. See also: deposition discovery
interstate commerce :: n. commercial trade, business, movement of goods o ... and the I.C.C. may soon be history.
invasion of privacy :: n. the intrusion into the personal life of another ... randeis. See also: right to privacy
joint :: adj., adv. referring to property, rights or obliga ... ncy joint venture tenancy in common
joint tenancy :: n. a crucial relationship in the ownership of real ... ty property tenancy in common title
judgment creditor :: n. the winning plaintiff in a lawsuit to whom the ... 's rights judgment prevailing party
jurisdiction :: n. the authority given by law to a court to try ca ... Superior Court Supreme Court venue
jury fees :: n. the rather minimal amount paid each day to juro ... ees as a court cost. See also: jury
laches :: n. the legal doctrine that a legal right or claim ... , breach of contract, fraud, etc.).
law book :: n. any of numerous volumes dealing with law, inclu ... : common law law Shepardize statute
lease :: 1) n. a written agreement in which the owner of pr ... triple net lease unlawful detainer
libel :: 1) n. to publish in print (including pictures), wr ... libel per se public figure slander
license :: 1) n. governmental permission to perform a particu ... eement. See also: licensee licensor
lis pendens :: (lease pen-dense) n. Latin for "a suit pending," a ... ob can be penalized by court order.
literary property :: n. the writings of an author which entitles him/he ... as copyrighted. See also: copyright
living trust :: n. sometimes called an inter vivos (Latin for "wit ... thrift clause trust trustee trustor
loss of use :: n. the inability to use an automobile, premises or ... ding or premises. See also: damages
malice :: n. a conscious, intentional wrongdoing either of a ... cution murder public figure slander
mandamus :: (man-dame-us) n. Latin for "we order," a writ (mor ... mandamus. See also: writ of mandate
marriage :: n. the joining of a male and female in matrimony b ... of time without legal formalities.
minority :: n. 1) in voting, a side with less than half the vo ... See also: legal age majority minor
mortgage :: n. a document in which the owner pledges his/her/i ... losure notice of default trust deed
negligence :: n. failure to exercise the care toward others whic ... gence per se res ipsa loquitur tort
no fault insurance :: n: a type of automobile insurance required of car ... ling lawsuits. See also: negligence
nominal party :: n. a defendant or a plaintiff included in a lawsui ... ed. See also: necessary party party
non-profit corporation :: n. an organization incorporated under state laws a ... harity corporation cy pres doctrine
notary public :: n. a person authorized by the state in which the p ... he state which appoints the notary.
notice :: n. 1) information, usually in writing in all legal ... Thirty-day notice three-day notice
nunc pro tunc :: (nuhnk proh tuhnk) adj. Latin for "now for then," ... r actuality of a bigamous marriage.
official :: 1) adj. referring to an act, document or anything ... tion or business. See also: officer
option :: n. a right to purchase property or require another ... ng or upon expiration of the lease.
partnership :: n. a business enterprise entered into for profit w ... partnership partner silent partner
patent :: 1) adj. obvious. Used in such expressions as a "pa ... patent infringement patent pending
patent infringement :: n. the manufacture and/or use of an invention or i ... not. See also: infringement patent
petition :: 1) n. a formal written request to a court for an o ... dent. See also: divorce motion writ
petty larceny :: n. a term used in many states for theft of a small ... emeanor in charging and sentencing.
plagiarism :: n. taking the writings or literary concepts (a plo ... d. See also: copyright infringement
police powers :: n. from the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, wh ... host of state regulatory statutes.
possibility of a reverter :: n. the potential that the title to a real property ... further issue. See also: reversion
prescription :: n. the method of acquiring an easement upon anothe ... ty. See also: prescriptive easement
privacy :: n. the right to be free of unnecessary public scru ... lso: public figure right to privacy
private road :: n. a road or driveway on privately owned property, ... ng. See also: prescriptive easement
privileges and immunities :: n. the fundamental rights that people enjoy in fre ... t impinge on constitutional rights.
probate :: 1) n. the process of proving a will is valid and t ... e also: administrator executor will
process :: n. in law, the legal means by which a person is re ... service of process subpena summons
promissory note :: n. a written promise by a person (variously called ... lso: interest obligee obligor usury
property :: n. anything that is owned by a person or entity. P ... rty real property separate property
public defender :: n. an elected or appointed public official (usuall ... to convicted indigents for appeals.
public domain :: n. 1) in copyright law, the right of anyone to use ... al governments. See also: copyright
public easement :: n. the right of the general public to use certain ... lso: easement prescriptive easement
public record :: n. any information, minutes, files, accounts or ot ... l judgment are both public records.
public trust doctrine :: n. the principle that the government holds title t ... interest has been dubious at best.
public use :: n. the only purpose for which private property can ... e also: condemnation eminent domain
public utility :: n. any organization which provides services to the ... nder state laws. See also: monopoly
publication :: n. 1) anything made public by print (as in a news- ... so: defamation libel notice slander
quiet title action :: n. a lawsuit to establish a party's title to real ... opposition. See also: notice title
quitclaim deed :: n. a real property deed which transfers (conveys) ... also: convey deed grant deed title
rape :: 1) n. the crime of sexual intercourse (with actual ... See also: date rape statutory rape
real property :: n. 1) all land, structures, firmly attached and in ... onal property real estate reversion
record :: 1) v. (ree-cored) to put a document into the offic ... eeding race to the courthouse trial
regulations :: n. rules and administrative codes issued by govern ... es usually have similar procedures.
reports :: n. the published decisions of appeals courts in al ... ilable in almost all law libraries.
restraint on alienation :: n. an attempt in a deed or will to prevent the sal ... enant rule against perpetuities use
rights :: n. 1) plural of right, which is the collection of ... evidence. See also: Miranda warning
robbery :: n. 1) the direct taking of property (including mon ... We've been robbed." See also: theft
royalty :: n. a percentage of gross or net profit or a fixed ... also: copyright infringement patent
rule against perpetuities :: n. the legal prohibition against tying up property ... . See also: restraint on alienation
seal :: n. a device which creates an impression upon paper ... e "sealed," but that is rare today.
seduction :: n. the use of charm, salesmanship, promises, gifts ... ry breach of promise date rape rape
seisin :: (sees-in) n. an old feudal term for having both po ... perty). See also: fee simple seized
sentence :: 1) n. the punishment given to a person convicted o ... ence restitution suspended sentence
service :: n. 1) paid work by another person, either by contr ... ersonal services service of process
service by publication :: n. serving a summons or other legal document in a ... perty. See also: service of process
service of process :: n. the delivery of copies of legal documents such ... by publication substituted service
sodomy :: n. anal copulation by a man inserting his penis in ... tiality). See also: bestiality rape
speaking demurrer :: n. an attempt to introduce evidence during a heari ... the operation." See also: demurrer
speedy trial :: n. in criminal prosecutions, the right of a defend ... hurt by the waiver. See also: trial
spousal support :: n. payment for support of an ex-spouse (or a spous ... but two. See also: alimony divorce
standing :: n. the right to file a lawsuit or file a petition ... so: actual controversy jurisdiction
state action :: n. in federal Civil Rights Acts, dating back to 18 ... for damages. See also: civil rights
statute of limitations :: n. a law which sets the maximum period which one c ... ies. See also: demurrer laches toll
stock certificate :: n. printed document which states the name, incorpo ... . See also: corporation share stock
tax :: n. a governmental assessment (charge) upon propert ... unified estate and gift tax use tax
tenancy by the entirety :: n. joint ownership of title by husband and wife, i ... ee also: community property tenancy
Thirty-day notice :: n. a notice by a landlord to a tenant on a month-t ... e also: landlord and tenant service
three-day notice :: n. a notice to pay delinquent rent or quit (leave ... nd tenant service unlawful detainer
timely :: adj. within the time required by statute, court ru ... ed on the 61st day is not "timely."
title search :: n. the examination of county records for the prope ... e escrow lien title title insurance
toll :: v. 1) to delay, suspend or hold off the effect of ... bridge or take passage on a ferry.
trademark :: n. a distinctive design, picture, emblem, logo or ... ing trademark. See also: trade name
transcript :: n. the written record of all proceedings, includin ... unless transcription is requested.
trust :: n. an entity created to hold assets for the benefi ... testamentary trust trustee trustor
trustee :: n. a person or entity who holds the assets (corpus ... es. See also: settlor trust trustor
unlawful detainer :: n. 1) keeping possession of real property without ... Thirty-day notice three-day notice
use :: n. the right to enjoy the benefits of real propert ... ay it is only of academic interest.
use tax :: n. a state tax on goods purchased in another state ... e" tax equivalent to its sales tax.
venue :: n. 1) the proper or most convenient location for t ... ion. See also: forum non conveniens
vested :: adj. referring to having an absolute right or titl ... ed. See also: vest vested remainder
vested remainder :: n. the absolute right to receive title after a pre ... pass to him. See also: vest vested
will :: n. a written document which leaves the estate of t ... will and testament probate testator

Popular Law Searches

legal definition ministerial act :: n. an act, particularly of a governmental employee ... exercising any individual judgment.
chancery legal definition :: n. a court that can order acts performed. Today ch ... ts in most states. See also: equity
testamentary disposition legal definition :: n. how the terms of a will divide the testator's ( ... named beneficiaries. See also: will
contract of sufferance :: n. a "hold-over" tenancy after a lease has expired ... y tenancy at will unlawful detainer
forthwith legal definition :: adv. a term found in contracts, court orders and s ... mediacy, with no excuses for delay.
forthwith definition legal :: adv. a term found in contracts, court orders and s ... mediacy, with no excuses for delay.
what is to wit in a legal contract :: prep. that is to say. Example: "the passengers in ... tty Bumgartner and Sherry Younger."
mirror wills legal definition :: n. the wills of a husband and wife which are ident ... d each names the other as executor.
clean hands doctrine latin :: n. a rule of law that a person coming to court wit ... ices. See also: affirmative defense
sine qua non only relates to contract law :: (see-nay kwah nahn) prep. Latin for "without which ... qua non of the injury to Playmate.

Other Law Terms - C

C.I.F. :: n. the total of cost, insurance and freight charge ... aid on goods purchased and shipped.
calendar :: 1) n. the list of cases to be called for trial bef ... clerk of the court calendars cases.
calendar call :: n. the hearing at which a case is set for trial. ... g at which a case is set for trial.
call :: n. the demand by a corporation that a stockholder ... assessment on shares already owned.
calumny :: n. the intentional and generally vicious false acc ... 's reputation. See also: defamation
cancel :: v. to cross out, annul, destroy, void and/or resci ... g, so that it cannot be used again.
cancellation :: cancel ... cancel
caning :: n. a punishment for crimes employed in certain Asi ... last century in the United States.
canon law :: n. laws and regulations over ecclesiastical (churc ... nduct with no religious connection.
cap :: n. slang for maximum, as the most interest that ca ... "adjustable rate" promissory note.
capital :: 1) n. from Latin for caput, meaning "head," the ba ... count capital assets stock in trade
capital account :: n. the record which lists all basic assets of a bu ... or the alleged value of good will.
capital assets :: n. equipment, property, and funds owned by a busin ... . See also: capital capital account
capital expenditure :: n. payment by a business for basic assets such as ... y intended to improve productivity.
capital gains :: n. the difference between the sales price and the ... so: basis delayed exchange exchange
capital investment :: capital expenditure ... capital expenditure
capital offense :: n. any criminal charge which is punishable by the ... . See also: bail capital punishment
capital punishment :: n. execution (death) for a capital offense. The U. ... or death. See also: capital offense
capital stock :: n. the original amount paid by investors into a co ... price. See also: corporation stock
capitalization :: n. 1) the act of counting anticipated earnings and ... for conversion into capital assets.