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Copyright | Research by Subject | Library & Information Access | San Diego State University


Definition: Copyright, Trademark & Patent

A copyright provides authors of original works the exclusive right to the reproduction of a work, preparation of a derivative work, distribution of copies, and public performance or display of a work. Copyright protection can be claimed for literary, musical, dramatic, pantomimes and choreographic, pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, as well as motion pictures and other audiovisual works and sound recordings. These categories are interpreted broadly to include other intellectual works such as games, computer software, automated databases and web sites.

Copyrights are different from trademarks and patents. A trademark is a symbol, word, or name that identifies a product and is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Patents are property rights granted by the Patent and Trademark Office and include the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling a process, machine, article, composition of matter, or plant.

Posted: 2010-03-16