copyright

noun
copy·right | \ˈkä-pē-ˌrīt \

Definition of copyright 

(Entry 1 of 3)

: the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (such as a literary, musical, or artistic work) His family still holds the copyright to his songs.

copyright

verb
copyrighted; copyrighting; copyrights

Definition of copyright (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to secure a copyright on He has copyrighted all of his plays.

copyright

adjective

Definition of copyright (Entry 3 of 3)

: secured by copyright copyright songs

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from copyright

Verb

copyrightable \ˈkä-pē-ˌrī-tə-bəl \ adjective

Examples of copyright in a Sentence

Noun

His family still holds the copyright to his songs. The book is under copyright.

Verb

He has copyrighted all of his plays.

Adjective

The copyright date is 2005.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Another would force big platforms like Facebook and Google to police images and video that users upload for copyright violations. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "EU Toys With Blowing Up the Internet as We Know It," 20 June 2018 In a copyright infringement lawsuit, Las Vegas sculptor Robert Davidson sued the Postal Service five years ago over its 2011 forever stamp design. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "US Postal Service to pay $3.5M for using wrong Statue of Liberty on stamp," 6 July 2018 And therefore, the operation of Megaupload couldn't be criminal copyright infringement. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "NZ court rules Kim Dotcom can be extradited to US on copyright charges," 5 July 2018 Prosecutors also accused him of copyright infringement. Adam Goldman, New York Times, "New Charges in Huge C.I.A. Breach Known as Vault 7," 18 June 2018 The hurdles included obtaining copyright permission and completing many complicated mold and model-making steps in the leadup to the pouring of the casts. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "RoboCop statue finds permanent home at Michigan Science Center," 2 May 2018 Much of this activity violates U.S. and international copyright law. Joe Karaganis, Washington Post, "Russia is building a new Napster — but for academic research," 13 July 2018 The Music Modernization Act, or MMA, updates copyright law for the digital age and is the result of unprecedented cooperation between the music industry and the streaming services that have upended how the business earns money. Anne Steele, WSJ, "Updated Music-Copyright Law Clears Senate Panel," 28 June 2018 The law benefited visual artists, who, unlike composers, filmmakers or writers, do not receive a share of any future sales under copyright law. Amanda Svachula, New York Times, "California Tried to Give Artists a Cut. But the Judges Said No.," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Take the topic out of the hands of coaches and athletic departments because both groups have shown themselves unable to shake the idea that the information is copyrighted. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "It's time for college football, NCAA to embrace injury reports with gambling influence rising," 3 July 2018 The Capitals will face the Vegas Golden Knights, a nightmare opponent for a franchise that has copyrighted excruciating losses. Steve Rosenbloom, chicagotribune.com, "Capitals are the perfect team for Cubs fans until their baseball club stops stinking," 24 May 2018 The song had actually been copyrighted in 1935 and Abner Silver, Al Lewis, and Al Sherman were credited as the authors. Emily Sweeney, BostonGlobe.com, "They finally got Al Capone for tax evasion. But what about plagiarism?," 15 May 2018 Ata is a troll, with a history of customer abuse, publishing copyrighted material, and user review manipulation. Chris Morris, Fortune, "'Active Shooter' Video Game Pulled From Distribution—But Not Because of Its Theme," 30 May 2018 But the artist failed to adequately copyright it and so missed out on the huge royalties that may have been due him. Will Higgins, Indianapolis Star, "We love pop artist Robert Indiana, even if he didn't always love us," 22 May 2018 The court ruled that some of the characters the author created were developed enough to be copyrighted, while others were not. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "Did YouTube Phenomenon Poppy Steal Her Style From Another Star?," 9 May 2018 Not accepting children's plays, musicals, adaptations of copyrighted material, or translation. Mark Rapp, cleveland.com, "Cleveland theater's auditions for March 16 and Beyond: Chagrin Valley Little Theatre seeking directors for 2018-19 Season & More," 16 Mar. 2018 But copyrighted material, including video streaming platforms, computer games and e-books, are exempt, a decision Europe's primary consumer rights organizations has sharply criticized. Deutsche Welle, USA TODAY, "Netflix, other streaming services, escape new European Union geoblocking ban," 7 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

That court upheld a lower court's previous ruling, which said, basically, that animals can't file copyright infringement suits. Susannah Cullinane, CNN, "Monkey does not own selfie copyright, appeals court rules," 24 Apr. 2018 If restricting resale of Frozen download codes is copyright misuse, that doesn't just mean that Redbox can re-sell download codes. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "How a fight over Star Wars download codes could reshape copyright law," 23 Feb. 2018 Energy Intelligence Group alleges that forwarding copies of its publications violates copyright laws. L.m. Sixel, Houston Chronicle, "Houston jury awards energy publisher $585,000 for copyright violations," 8 Dec. 2017 Previously, Google had only removed webpages with identifying financial information, such as credit card numbers, and with content that violates copyright laws. Bloomberg News, NOLA.com, "Google to remove private medical records from search results," 24 June 2017 With Ivan Pereira and Alison Fox ——— ©2017 Newsday _____ Copyright 2017 Tribune Content Agency. Rachelle Blidner And Laura Figueroa, Jewish Journal, "NATIONAL: Celebrate Israel parade steps off in Manhattan on Sunday," 5 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'copyright.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of copyright

Noun

1735, in the meaning defined above

Verb

circa 1806, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1870, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about copyright

Dictionary Entries near copyright

copy number

copy paper

copyreader

copyright

copywriter

coq

coq au vin

Statistics for copyright

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for copyright

The first known use of copyright was in 1735

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for copyright

copyright

noun

English Language Learners Definition of copyright

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the legal right to be the only one to reproduce, publish, and sell a book, musical recording, etc., for a certain period of time

copyright

verb

English Language Learners Definition of copyright (Entry 2 of 3)

: to get a copyright for a book, musical recording, etc., for a certain period of time

copyright

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of copyright (Entry 3 of 3)

: of or relating to a copyright

: not allowed to be copied without permission from the author, composer, etc.

copyright

noun
copy·right | \ˈkä-pē-ˌrīt \

Kids Definition of copyright

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the legal right to be the only one to reproduce, publish, and sell the contents and form of a literary or artistic work

copyright

verb
copyrighted; copyrighting

Kids Definition of copyright (Entry 2 of 2)

: to get a copyright on

copyright

noun
copy·right | \ˈkä-pē-ˌrīt \

Legal Definition of copyright 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a person's exclusive right to reproduce, publish, or sell his or her original work of authorship (as a literary, musical, dramatic, artistic, or architectural work) — see also common-law copyright, fair use at use sense 2, infringe, intellectual property at property, international copyright, original, public domain — compare patent, trademark

Note: Copyrights are governed by the Copyright Act of 1976 contained in title 17 of the U.S. Code. The Act protects published or unpublished works that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression from which they can be perceived. The Act does not protect matters such as an idea, process, system, or discovery. Protection under the Act extends for the life of the creator of the work plus seventy years after his or her death. For works created before January 1, 1978, but not copyrighted or in the public domain, the copyright starts on January 1, 1978, and extends for the same period as for other works, but in any case will not expire before December 31, 2002. If a work is published on or before December 31, 2002, the copyright will not expire before December 31, 2047. The Act abolishes protection under common law, as well as any rights available under state statute, in favor of the rights available under the provisions of the Act, with certain exceptions.

Other Words from copyright

copyright adjective

copyright

transitive verb

Legal Definition of copyright (Entry 2 of 2)

: to secure a copyright on

Other Words from copyright

copyrightability \ˌkä-pē-ˌrī-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē \ noun
copyrightable \ˈkä-pē-ˌrī-tə-bəl \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on copyright

What made you want to look up copyright? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!