The Library of Congress is also home to the US Copyright Office and has been since 1870. Copyrights offer limited property rights the creators of original creative and scientific works in order to give them ample time to benefit from their work before it becomes public knowledge and subject to modification and open usage by the general public. Facts, ideas, systems and methods of operation are not covered by copyright law. Failure to properly attribute non-copyright works to their authors however, is considered plagiarism.
How are the two organizations linked?
Works registered at the copyright office automatically enter the Library of Congress. The 1870 law that housed the copyright office under the Library of Congress also required two of every work be deposited into the library to create a record of American inventions and innovation.
How does the copyright office administer copyrights?
Although a copyright is created automatically at the completion of any work, it is still important to register at the copyright office. Registration creates a record for the purposes of determining how long a copyright will last and also provides an official record in the event of litigation or other legal action involving the rights to the copyrighted work. Additionally it ensures protection by U.S. Customs ad Border Protection against copies and other copyright violations from reaching the common market.
How do I get a copyright?
– One may register for some copyrights though the electronic Copyright Office for a lower filing fee and the ability to submit some works electronically. There are additional provisions for filing electronically despite the need to submit hard copies of published works, as mandated by law.
– One may print out Form CO, fill it out and mail it along with a check or money order. As they are processed by bar code, each form is unique and not reusable.
– For forms TX, VA, PA, SR and SE (literary works, visual arts works, performing arts works, sound recordings, single serials) one must request these forms from the copyright office.
What are the Library of Congress’s exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?
In 2010 the Library of Congress affirmed exceptions that reinforced the right of educational institutions to bypass protection on copyrighted materials for educational purposes. This now extends to all fields and disciplines whereas previous exceptions only applied to film and media classes.
Source: US Legal Code Title 17 Chapter 1 Section 102, https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.pdf