Protection of intellectual property is essential for any artist, writer, business or media outlet. No matter the material, these groups or people have the right to register their art or material for a copyright or patent protecting their rights and potential earnings. Anime falls under these laws, like any other form of media.
Anime falls under the audiovisual definition according to the U.S. Copyright Office. According to Subject Matter and Scope of Copyright from the U.S. Copyright office, audiovisual is defined as "works that consist of a series of related images which are intrinsically intended to be shown by the use of machines or devices such as projectors, viewers, or electronic equipment, together with accompanying sounds, if any, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as films or tapes, in which the works are embodied."
Duration of Copyright
In general, with works created after 1978, a copyright endures throughout the author's life plus 70 years after the author's death. With joint works, the copyright endures until 70 years after the last surviving author's death. An anonymous, pseudonym, or hired work is protected for 90 years after the work is published or 120 years after the work is finished, whichever comes first.
The Copyright Royalty and Distribution Reform Act of 2004
The Copyright Royalty and Distribution Reform Act of 2004 protects author rights, owner rights, earnings potential and owner control if the copyrighted media or work is licensed or broadcast over any electronic medium. The act guarantees the continued control over copyrighted material.