In today’s always connected, digital world, issues of copyright become more and more noticeable to small business and consumers. Our firm handles the many areas involved in copyright protection and enforcement that any creative, entrepreneur or business can encounter. We can provide services such as copyright registration, maintenance, litigation representation, brand protection, enforcement and counseling as to liability, fair use on the Internet, intellectual property audits, and more.
Getting your copyright federally registered is the first step in protecting and enforcing the rights you deserve for creating your original work. By registering a copyright and receiving your certificate of registration you put the world on notice of your ownership rights. It also opens up the door for you to sue in federal court and collect statutory damages and attorney’s fees.
In the United States, the Copyright Act of 1976 is the prominent legal doctrine that governs all issues concerning copyright law. Until a work is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), federal courts cannot hear claims for copyright infringement. Copyright registration and protection is applicable to “original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression.” The following items can qualify as works of authorship:
- literary works
- musical works
- dramatic works
- choreography and pantomimes
- pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
- motion pictures and other audiovisual works
- sound recordings
- architectural works
Another important area that the Copyright Act focuses on is providing individuals the creativity to allow comments and criticism of the original work. Section 107 of the Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. 107) provides other authors certain exceptions to a creator’s copyrights. These exceptions are known as “Fair Use” exceptions. If you are using the original work for purposes of “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research” then this use might constitute Fair Use and you may be entitled to use the work.
Understanding the intricacies of the Copyright Act is only one of the many reasons that an attorney is recommended to handle copyright areas. Our firm can counsel and advise you throughout the registration, maintenance and enforcement stages. We have handled areas such as:
- Counseling on copyright matters such as fair use and infringement.
- Register and maintain copyrights with the US Copyright Office
- Draft work for hire agreements to maintain copyright ownership when working with outside vendors.
- Secure copyright clearances and licenses for your use in creative projects.
- Draft licensing agreements and negotiate them on your behalf.
- Assist you with collecting unpaid royalties for your work.
- Advise brands and companies on product and name usage
- Conduct copyright searches for entrepreneurs and authors