common-law copyright

common-law copyright
Authors' proprietary interest in his creation before it has been published. An intangible, incorporeal right in an author of literary or artistic productions to reproduce and sell them exclusively and arises at the moment of their creation as distinguished from federal or statutory copyrights which exist for the most part only in published works. Common law copyright is perpetual while statutory copyright is for term of years. Equitable relief is available for violation of common law copyright. Edgar H. Wood Associates Inc. v. Skene, 347 Mass. 351, 197 N.E.2d 886.
The distinction which formerly existed between common law copyrights and statutory copyrights was abolished by the 1976 Copyright Act revision; though No. 301 of the new Act specifically preserves common law copyrights accruing prior to January 1, 1978.
See also copyright

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

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