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The creator or an artistic original creation can control its dissemination.

A Copyright grants the artist/creator legal rights in their work that allow them to control how their work is reproduced, exhibited , distributed , performed or displayed. The Copyright Act safeguards the interests that make copyright ownership valuable while balancing the need for public dissemination. In drafting the Copyright laws, the Legislature recognized that many creators are poor and unable to afford to register their work so that registration and copyright notice is no longer a necessity for protection. Protection (although limited) is now automatic. The protection period generally lasts 70 years beyond the death of the creator. Registration is done through the Federal Copyright Office. There is a world wide treaty (The Berne Convention) such that any U.S. copyright is protected in more than 90 other countries.

There are three Constitutional Policies for Copyright. First, for the promotion of learning. Second, the preservation of the public domain, and lastly for the protection of the author. The threshold for obtaining an copyright is lower than for a patent or a trademark.

Although registration is not necessary, it grants additional benefits. Section 411 of the Copyright Act states that to bring an infringement claim registration is necessary. Damages cannot be recovered without registration under section 412.