We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Copyright Ownership?

By Kathy Heydasch
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

As early as the eighteenth century, people were concerned with the rights granted to original works of art, like songs, novels or poems. The ability for the creator of these original works to make money relies upon control of the distribution. The extent of the rights of reproduction, distribution, and adaptation granted to an original work is known as copyright ownership.

A copyright establishes the exclusive ownership of the right to reproduce, distribute or adapt original artistic and literary works, and assigns that ownership to one or more parties. A copyright is similar to a patent in that they both establish ownership; however, a patent applies to an invention. A trademark is yet another classification of ownership recognized by the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). None of these protect ideas; only the physical manifestation of them.

The laws of copyright ownership vary across the globe, but concerted efforts have been made to establish uniform international laws of governance. In 1886, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works was an attempt to establish universal guidelines among Convention members which would cross international borders. The basic premise of the Berne statutes requires that a country honor works originating outside their border to grant them the same rights as those of the respective country’s own citizens. The findings have been amended in the subsequent hundred-plus years since the Convention, but still serve as a guiding light in matters of international copyright ownership disputes.

US copyright law is established by the PTO, and early mention of copyright law is within the US Constitution. Copyright ownership can apply to two or more parties, for example a composer and a singer. A copyright can also be owned by a corporation, and ownership of copyrights can be transferred to another party via legal process. In the case of the death of the creator of the copyrighted work, a will or other due process can transfer copyright ownership as well.

The duration of copyright ownership is not forever. Copyrights expire, though the rules governing the duration period vary among different countries. The expiration of copyright ownership under US law, is typically 70 years after the death of the author or authors. There are some variations on these rules based on the type of work and the date it was created.

Public domain refers to works that are not protected by any international copyright laws. An author may not claim the copyright ownership, or the rights may simply have expired. For example, neither the Bible nor the writings of Shakespeare can be subject to any international copyright laws.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.