We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Copyright Clause?

By Jessica Reed
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
America Explained is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At America Explained, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The Copyright Clause is the common name for Clause 8 in Section 8 found in Article 1 of the United States Constitution. The Copyright Clause states that Congress has the power "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." This clause gives those who discover or create something the legal rights to their creation or discovery for a limited amount of time. The Copyright Clause is also known as the Copyright and Patent Clause, the Patent and Copyright Clause, the Intellectual Property Clause, and the Progress Clause.

When the Constitution was drafted in 1787, the creators felt they should encourage the people to keep advancing scientific and artistic discovery by giving them certain rights over their creations. This would benefit both the individual by giving them proper credit and compensation for their discovery and would help society by allowing artists and inventors to make new advancements in their fields. The Copyright Clause was listed under Article 1 because this article deals with powers of the legislative branch and was put under Section 8 because it deals with the powers of Congress. In the United States, Congress has the power to take action on matters dealing with copyright law.

Originally, the clause referred to "useful Arts" as those who were skilled in a trade and could create useful items and objects. Science covered not only the traditional scientists of the day but also philosophers and other professions that dealt with intellectual thought and knowledge. Today, the clause covers those who create items whether in research or in an artistic form such as writing a song.

Copyrights and patents are given to those who create or invent an item and this tells the person under what terms he or she owns the item and for how long. A songwriter, for example, owns the copyright to his song, and if anyone uses the lyrics or melody of that song without permission, he or she is breaking the law. Interpretation of the Copyright Clause has varied over the years. While Congress tries to ensure each person owns the copyright or patent for his or her ideas and inventions, it also can choose to alter the rules if giving the creator control would hinder further progress dealing with the invention or area of research.

It is important to keep in mind that the Copyright Clause only applies to original creations or inventions. Changing an invention might allow the scientist to request a patent for a new part he created, but he cannot patent the entire machine since he did not invent it himself. A writer working on a novel is covered under copyright law only as long as the story is an original work she created herself.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.