Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Richard J. Peltz
Copyright is a legal protection of expressions that are fixed in tangible media. Copyright describes, for example, an author's right to reproduce a book manuscript, an artist's right to duplicate his painting, or a musician's right to perform an original score. Copyright is part of a family of legal interests loosely termed intellectual property , which also includes trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. Civilizations dating to ancient Egypt have inscribed unique marks on physical objects, such as bricks, to indicate ownership or craftsmanship. Greeks first used marks to indicate a creator's association with more cerebral products, such as art and literature. Romans further distinguished an author's right of ownership from an alienable right to reproduce a work. Chinese as early as the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 200) recognized an exclusive legal right to reproduce written works. But intellectual property notions in ancient Eastern cultures developed less fully than in the ...