Modern copyrights were established by the Copyright Act of 1976, which outlines what type of properties can be protected and how those protections work. It is common to think of copyrights pertaining to books and songs, yet copyrights cover many more types of properties, including paintings, photos, musical compositions, sound recordings, computer programs, digital blog posts, films, architectural works, plays, and more.


In 1984, laws were expanded under the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act, which gave copyright protections to layouts of integrated circuits, known as chip topography. This new legislation granted chip designers (companies such as IBM) the right to protect their innovations in chip design.


An additional update to the law was made in October 2022 when The Artistic Recognition for Talented Students Act was passed. The law waives copyright filing fees for winners of the Congressional Art Competition and the Congressional App Competition as long as they file within a specified timeline.

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