copyright refers to the protection of some
tangible expression of an idea, thing, or action. Copyright
protection exists from the moment that the artistic or creative
work is expressed in tangible form. One does not necessarily have
to do or file anything or incur any expense. The copyright exists
and belongs to the creator immediately. It can be associated with
any writing, play, music, dance, painting, sculpture, software
program, or text and educational materials, written or visual. Most
often, one is advised to simply include a statement that says
“copyright...year…author or creator, and the
institution with ownership”. A formal copyright registration
at the PTO can be done, and it must be done if charges of
infringement are going to be made and an award based on damages is
being sought. Copyrights on materials created after 1978 currently
last for the lifetime of the author, plus 70 years. In the case of
a “work for hire,” the copyright lasts 95 years from
the date of publication. The existence of a copyright prevents
anyone else from reproducing, performing, distributing, or making
derivative works without the permission of the copyright holder.
If you are the author of materials reduced to written or graphic form (textual, pamphlets, software, web-distributed original materials, etc.), we recommend that you add the following in a prominent place, usually at the bottom of the first page:
"Copyright 200_, (author), on behalf of Georgia Health Sciences University"
You may wish to include the following phrase (optional):
Software computer programs can be subject to
copyrights on the code, plus a patent under certain circumstances.
Patents on software are allowed if there is a clear linkage between
the algorithm and some physical device. A patent may provide
stronger protection, but its lifetime is more limited.
Trademarks and service marks are words, symbols, or names that are used to identify a certain product or service and make it distinctive from any other. Unlike patents, actual use or implementation is required before filing the mark. However, one can reserve a mark for later use under certain circumstances. These types of marks are used in commerce and are associated with branded products, so academic institutions do not normally seek such protection.