In general, anything that is written, drawn, programmed, broadcast or created is copyrighted.
On March 1, 1989 the United States acceded to the Berne Convention, which basically means that
works do not need to have a copyright notice to be copyrighted.
A copyright protects original works of authorship, whether literary, dramatic, musical or
other artistic work (in this instance - multimedia computer art). All art and animation frames
presented at http://madmovyman.com are
subject to copyright protection since there is some element of creativity in the work to be protected.
This legal protection allows only the owner of a copyright the right to reproduce a work,
prepare derivative works based thereon, distribute the copyrighted work, perform any copyrighted
work publicly, and display the copyrighted work publicly.
The Copyright Act defines publication as the distribution of copies of a work to the public
by presentation, sale or other transfer of ownership or by rental, lease or lending. The offering to distribute copies to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display constitutes publication.
Since 1978, copyright protection exists from the time a work is fixed in a tangible form.
Tangible form means a form that is directly perceptible or perceptible with the aid of a machine
or device (ie. computer).
The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act extends the term of copyright protection
significantly - for the life of the author plus seventy years. Additionally, for anonymous
and pseudonymous works (ie. MadMovyMan), the copyright term is ninety-five years from first
publication or one hundred-twenty years from creation, whichever is shorter.
A derivative work is a work that is based on, or incorporates, one or more already
existing works (ie. digital art) using pre-existing elements or any other embellishment
that modifies, is derived from or elaborates upon a pre-existing work.
A trademark may be a word, symbol, design (or combination word and design), a slogan
or a distinctive style which identifies and distinguishes the goods or services of one
party from those of another. Trademark rights can last indefinitely if the mark continues
to perform a source-indicating function. As Federal legislation states, such marks include
"any word, symbol or device used by a person (or other entity), or which a person has a
bona fide intention to use in commerce".
A parody can be defined as an imitation which ridicules another's work or as any
burlesque or risque occurence that would not happen in an original instance. Under US
copyright law, anyone can use copyrighted materials in criticism, review, or parody;
this is called fair use.