Definition of copyright in US English:



  • 1The exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.

    ‘he issued a writ for breach of copyright’
    ‘works whose copyrights had lapsed’
    • ‘The most common argument in favour of the distribution of exclusive copyrights is that they provide an incentive for artists and scientists to create their works.’
    • ‘Unlike copyright, patents give holders exclusive rights to a technology for a set number of years.’
    • ‘Now they seem to think that out of print and out of copyright are the same thing.’
    • ‘The possession of copyright in published material may also lead to a conclusion of dominance if the relevant market is drawn tightly.’
    • ‘It compels the sharing of that amount between the owner of copyright in the artistic work and the owner of copyright in the literary work.’
    • ‘They claimed that his new material infringed their copyright on some of his old songs.’
    • ‘This sort of thing is entirely acceptable in the pop world, as long as the end result does not infringe the original copyright.’
    • ‘The legal system protects intellectual property through patents and copyright.’
    • ‘Standards New Zealand came and explained the legal implications around copyright.’
    • ‘One good reason to register is to establish a public record of your copyright.’
    • ‘When creativity is stifled by copyright, the original intention of the law is lost.’
    • ‘Sometimes when copyright on a film expires, all sorts of stakeholders come forward.’
    • ‘In most countries, organisations have been created which control the exercise of copyright in performing and recording rights.’
    • ‘Please be sure all reprints retain the original copyright, source, and author name.’
    • ‘Some universities claim outright copyright on any materials produced by academic staff.’
    • ‘Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration.’
    • ‘This could be sound, pictures, movies or texts that have no copyright, in legal terms.’
    • ‘Every modern legal judgment concerning copyright, from the Berne Convention to the Betamax case, is on my side.’
    • ‘We think of creative work as a purely human thing, and wrap invention in mystery and legal monopoly of copyrights and patents.’
    • ‘But for the vast majority of musical artists, their copyrights are a woefully inadequate tool for leveraging their way to a mass audience.’
    licence, legal protection, right, performing right, permit, privilege, charter, franchise, registered trademark
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A particular literary, artistic, or musical work that is covered by copyright.


  • Protected by copyright.

    ‘permission to reproduce photographs and other copyright material’
    • ‘To qualify for copyright protection under the Berne Convention there must be no requirement to register or deposit copies of a work.’
    • ‘The following sites contain useful information on copyright protection in various parts of the world.’
    • ‘There's a huge cost that's incurred when you increase copyright protection.’
    • ‘Having a few years of copyright protection is a good incentive.’
    • ‘The whole point of copyright law is to protect works even when they are broadly published.’
    • ‘Why were so many fans outraged when Tubular Bells was released recently with digital copyright protection?’
    • ‘Forthcoming EU legislation could criminalise Europeans who circumvent copyright protection.’
    • ‘It is a groundbreaking attempt to protect a fictional storyline with a patent, rather than relying on copyright protection.’
    • ‘They invent a new form of copyright protection which is then broken by hackers.’
    • ‘InterTrust has been developing copyright protection and management mechanisms for digital data for a decade or more.’
    • ‘Where, for instance, is the actual damage caused by extended copyright protection for books?’
    • ‘Title and intellectual property rights are protected by the copyright laws and treaties.’
    • ‘Creating devices that circumvent copyright protection measures is a violation of the DMCA.’
    • ‘Equally, Barry may not have made any move on supporting copyright protection technology.’
    • ‘And judges seem to take a much dimmer view of any tampering with copyright protection.’
    • ‘Be this as it may, as was seen earlier, form was not important in the attraction of copyright protection in the present case.’
    • ‘This very diversity means that the purpose behind copyright protection may not always be the same.’
    • ‘The Register will act as a proving ground for existing copyright protection schemes and as a test bed for future technologies.’
    • ‘This document is protected by applicable copyright laws and international treaties.’
    • ‘Up for discussion still is how to treat the circumvention of copyright protection mechanisms.’


[with object]
  • Secure copyright for (material)

    ‘he refused to copyright his music, insisting that anyone be able to use it’
    • ‘It's also quite amusing that the material is copyrighted to a limited company.’
    • ‘I mean, imagine sitting in a bar and realizing the person two seats down is dropping copyrighted company names every other sentence.’
    • ‘He sits and trolls the internet, and steals copyrighted articles and passes them off as his own.’
    • ‘Until now, it was legal in Sweden to download copyrighted movie and music files, but making them available for sharing was unlawful.’
    • ‘Until recently, creative people have had two options in sharing our work: copyrighting it and reserving all rights, or releasing it to the public domain.’
    • ‘If the hymn or song is copyrighted, it is necessary to go to the copyright holder to ask for this permission.’
    • ‘Henzteeth, one of Scotland's first dedicated copyrighting agencies will open for business this week.’
    • ‘This should come as no surprise - they did consider the idea of copyrighting the word ‘Pride’ a number of years ago.’
    • ‘The computer industry has now grown to such dimensions that copyrighting a software product does not satisfy the appetite of powerful sections of the industry.’
    • ‘The software and the networks may now be legal - but using them to swap copyrighted songs is theft.’
    • ‘The playing pitch must be open, not patented and copyrighted every step of the production and delivery process.’
    • ‘Rights to copyrighted music are more in their hands than in those of the artists who wrote the songs.’
    • ‘It is mainly used to download copyrighted files of music, video, etc.’
    • ‘Owners receive a certificate to this effect, which prohibits others from copyrighting their work without permission.’
    • ‘Those found making a living by counterfeiting copyrighted products face a jail sentence of up to seven years.’
    • ‘The picture, above left, is copyrighted to Ruvan and is one of several to feature on the band's website.’
    • ‘Copylefting involves copyrighting a program and then adding specific distribution terms that give everyone the right to use, modify and redistribute the code.’
    • ‘This haiku is copyrighted and the Warrant Mark scheme is trademarked.’
    • ‘The four students were forced to say they will not pirate copyrighted music on purpose and will shut down their search services.’
    • ‘I might draw a parallel here with scientists copyrighting genes.’