Whitelaw Legal Group - Trademark, Copyright, Intellectual Property Attorney Attorneys at Law

Today, no copyright protection extends to any original Michelangelo work. Learn more about copyright duration.

The Copyright Act is designed to protect the rights of authors in their creative works and thereby encourage progress in arts and sciences.

A copyright protects "expression". An abstract idea becomes an "expression" when it is "fixed in a tangible medium" and is then referred to as "copyrightable".

 Examples of copyrightable works are books, manuscripts, notes, screenplays, manuals, maps, charts, paintings, sculpture, choreography, technical drawings, architectural works, photographs, musical and other sound recordings, motions pictures including videography and mask works.

What about works made for hire?

Michelangelo was first a sculptor and took up painting with some reluctance. Many argue that there has never been a more literally awesome artist than Michelangelo - awesome in the depth of his imagination and his belief in the spiritual significance of beauty. Beauty was to him divine, one of the ways God communicated Himself to humanity.

Today, no copyright protection extends to any original Michelangelo work. Click here to learn about the duration of a copyright.



In general, copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright. However, registration is not a condition of copyright protection. Even though registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides several advantages to encourage copyright owners to make registration. Among these advantages are the following:

  • Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.
  • Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin.
  • If made before or within 5 years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.
  • If registration is made within 3 months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney's fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits may be available to the copyright owner.
  • Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U. S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies.





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