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IP 101 > Copyright - Pg. 140

A Primer on Intellectual Property 140 Copyright Copyrights are very important to developers, as they protect both software code and art (as well as many other important assets). Not only do you have a "natural copyright" in material you create (insufficient for most business purposes, discussed below in this section)--meaning that your legal rights to the created material arise at the time of creation--but registering your copyright to ensure full legal benefits is reasonably inexpensive ($30 per copyright). Note CAUTION Copyright registrations look prettysimple, but simple mistakes can makethe registration in- effective, so have anIP attorney review your applications. What is a Copyright? As the name implies, a copyright gives the owner of a work of authorship, such as a play, musical composition, computer program, drawing, or business plan, the right to dictate how, whether, and for what benefit that work is to be copied. A copyright owner has the exclusive power to use, copy, make derivative works (like later versions of software), sell, or distribute that work. A copyright will protect a work owned by a corporation for 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter; for individuals, the copyright will last for the life of the creator plus 70 years. Control Over Use of Work The copyright protects the owner's ability to control the use of the work, giving the owner the ex- clusive right to reproduce, develop derivative works, distribute, sell, license, or publicly use, perform, or display the work. Because most software is distributed as a licensed product, and not actually