What does copyright protect?
Copyright is a form of intellectual property law that protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.
How is copyright created?
A copyright is a collection of rights that automatically vest to someone who creates an original work of authorship and need not be obtained through official registration with any government office. Once an idea has been reduced to tangible form, for example by securing it in a fixed medium (such as a drawing, sheet music, photograph, a videotape, or a computer file), the copyright holder is entitled to enforce his or her exclusive rights. These rights include the right to reproduce the work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies, and to perform and display the work publicly.
For a work to be considered to infringe upon the copyright, its use must have occurred in a nation that has domestic copyright laws or adheres to a bilateral treaty or established international convention such as the Berne Convention or WIPO Copyright Treaty. Improper use of materials outside of legislation is deemed to be an "unauthorized edition", not copyright infringement.
How is a copyright different from a patent or a trademark?
Copyright protects original works of authorship, while a patent protects inventions or discoveries. Ideas and discoveries are not protected by copyright law, although the way in which they are expressed may be. A trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others.
How long does copyright protection last?
In Iceland, copyright lasts until 70 years have elapsed from the start of the year after the author's death.