[ kop-ee-rahyt ]
/ ˈkɒp iˌraɪt /


the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.: works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 70 years after his or her death.


of or relating to copyrights.
Also cop·y·right·ed. protected by copyright.

verb (used with object)

to secure a copyright on.


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Origin of copyright

First recorded in 1725–35; copy + right


cop·y·right·a·ble, adjectivecop·y·right·er, nounun·cop·y·right·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for copyright

British Dictionary definitions for copyright

/ (ˈkɒpɪˌraɪt) /


the exclusive right to produce copies and to control an original literary, musical, or artistic work, granted by law for a specified number of years (in Britain, usually 70 years from the death of the author, composer, etc, or from the date of publication if later)Symbol: (c)


(of a work, etc) subject to or controlled by copyright


(tr) to take out a copyright on

Derived forms of copyright

copyrightable, adjectivecopyrighter, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for copyright (1 of 2)


The legal protection given to published works, forbidding anyone but the author from publishing or selling them. An author can transfer the copyright to another person or corporation, such as a publishing company.

notes for copyright

The symbol (see also symbol) for copyright is ©.

Cultural definitions for copyright (2 of 2)


A grant of an exclusive right to produce or sell a book, motion picture, work of art, musical composition, software, or similar product during a specified period of time.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.