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  • A legal protection provided to authors of works in music, writing, art, architecture, and other areas of production. A copyright protects a work from unauthorized reproduction and lets the author control its display, reproduction, performance, or sales and distribution. Copyright protects both published and unpublished works. International copyright regulations vary; in the United States, copyrights are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. In “works for hire,” the copyright resides with the employer and not the employee. Violation of copyright protections is illegal and subject to criminal penalties. One limitation of the rights of copyright owners is called “fair use”; it refers to the right of the public to duplicate parts of a copyrighted work for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, research, or parody.

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