How Long Do Current U.S. Laws Grant Copyright Protection?

Copyright Protection How Long Do Current U.S. Laws Grant Copyright Protection?

How Long Do Current U.S. Laws Grant Copyright Protection?

Before you start a journey with copyright, you have to learn how copyright works to gather all the necessary information. Questions that need immediate answers are how to copyright something and how long copyright lasts. After that, you should learn how to file copyright notices with the help of DoNotPay to fight copyright infringement without delays.

Fortunately, you can find all the answers in one place—DoNotPay’s Learning Center—where you can learn about current U.S. copyright laws like Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

We will ensure that you get the right information concerning the duration of copyrights—from the moment you obtain them to the second you lose them.


When Does Copyright Protection Start?

While many people struggle to wrap their heads around the concept of copyright, most of its rules are straightforward enough. When you hear that someone has copyright to a certain piece of work, it may seem like a big deal.

The fact is, copyright protection starts automatically the moment you express some idea in a tangible form, whether on a piece of paper, book, sound recording, or a website.

So, why do so many people decide to register their copyrights?

Registration with the U.S. Copyright Office increases the value of the original work of authorship. Here is how you can benefit from registration:

  • It provides a public record of ownership
  • You get a certificate of registration
  • You are enabled to file a copyright infringement lawsuit in court
  • Registered copyrights are eligible for statutory damages up to $35,000 per work

How Long Will My Copyright Last?

According to the current U.S. copyright law, the general rule for the duration of the copyright is the lifetime of the author, plus an additional 70 years, as of January 1, 1978. This rule does not apply for the works created before that date:

  • Works published in the period between 1924 and 1978  are protected for 95 years from the date of publication
  • Works created before 1924 are in the public domain

How long copyright lasts depends on whether the work is published and the date of publication. Here is how long the current U.S. laws grant copyright protection from case to case:

Type of Work Copyright Term
Work of a Single Author The lifetime of the author, plus the additional 70 years
Joint Work of Two or More Authors 70 years after the last surviving author’s death
Work for Hire 95 years from the first publication of the work or 120 years from its creation
Anonymous and Pseudonymous Work 95 years from the first publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter

Is Copyright Renewal Necessary?

With the U.S. copyright law of 1909, copyright protection was divided into two consecutive terms. Renewal registration was an obligatory part of securing the second term, and there was a strict time limit for that process.

After the current U.S. copyright law came into effect, copyright owners don’t need to renew their copyrights.

The Ways Current U.S. Copyright Laws Protect Creative Work

Large entertainment companies, social media platforms, and streaming services such as Twitch, YouTube, Instagram, or even Google are often the breeding ground for stolen content.

The U.S. Copyright Office enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in 1998 to regulate and criminalize the use, production, and distribution of digital content. The DMCA implements two of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties from 1996.

The Act provides safe harbors for these large media platforms. 

DMCA and Safe Harbors

If someone steals your video and posts it on YouTube, you cannot sue YouTube. 

This type of DMCA protection gives Online Service Providers (OSPs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) a kind of immunity against lawsuits, but there are rules. 

The OSP or ISP has to deal with the infringer—take down stolen content, issue a warning or a strike to the user, or remove their account. 

The principle works in theory, but there is a problem with it. Streaming services and similar platforms are under a lot of pressure to avoid any infringement cases if they want to keep their safe harbor status, which leads to some questionable moves.

Small creators complained about getting takedown notices without any foundation or a chance to file a counter-notice and defend themselves. 

While it may seem that the DMCA and other internet copyright laws favor media giants, don’t get discouraged. 

One of the most powerful tools of the U.S. copyright system is available to you thanks to this act—a DMCA takedown notice

Drafting a Copyright Infringement Notice by Yourself

You can try drafting the copyright infringement notice on your own, but the document is quite complex. 

You need to pay attention and include all relevant information, such as:

  • Your copyright certificate or other proof of ownership
  • Info and links to content infringing your copyright
  • A statement of good faith
  • An affirmation under penalty of perjury that you are the copyright owner
  • An electronic signature
  • Contact details

The host of the infringing website won’t consider a notice that looks unprofessional, incomplete, or poorly written. With DoNotPay, you don’t have to worry about that.

Put an End to Copyright Infringement With DoNotPay

Fighting copyright infringement is not an easy task, but it can be with the right help. DoNotPay is the world’s first robot lawyer, and with its new practical feature, it can help you to take down the content stolen from you. Our app is the best and easiest way to file a DMCA takedown notice, and here is how to do it:

  1. Access DoNotPay from your web browser
  2. Choose the DMCA Takedown feature
  3. Enter the original work’s location and title
  4. Paste the link to the infringing website
  5. Provide your contact details
  6. Click the Sign and Submit button

We will send the DMCA takedown notice to the online service provider on whose platform the infringement took place. With DoNotPay, you can submit an unlimited number of takedown notices, and you don’t even need proof of ownership!

Check the My Disputes tab to find results and decide on the next steps.

DoNotPay Is the Best Way To Resolve Tedious Issues

If you have additional questions about copyright or want to learn more about copyright claims or Fair Use policy, you can check out our app’s Learning Center.

We can show you how to copyright artwork, documents, books, or songs. Avoid copyright infringement by learning from some famous cases and examples.

Access DoNotPay from any web browser to explore other fantastic features and use them to:


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