Frequently Asked Questions

International Law: Intellectual Property

What is a Copyright?
A copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of "original works of authorship" including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. A copyright protects the form of expression rather than the subject matter of the writing. The U.S. Copyright Office handles copyright registrations. Owners of copyrighted works seeking protection in other countries should first determine the extent of protection available to works of foreign authors in that country. If you need answers to specific copyright questions or want to know more about copyrights in general, please contact the U.S. Copyright Office at (202) 707-5959 or its website at

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