Get a Free Claim Review

Copyright Application Lawyer

Are you working on a new melody or a movie script you believe can generate millions of dollars in revenue? Or are you working on a sci-fi comic book series that can be the new Marvel or DC? If the answer to any of the questions is yes, then you should think of getting your work copyrighted. The best way to figure out how to go about the process is to hire an intellectual property attorney.

What Is Copyright Exactly?

Copyright law falls under the federal statute. All the legal rules and processes related to copyright have been defined under the Copyright Act of 1976. The copyright law protects and provides certain rights to the creator of “original works of authorship”. The protection prevents anyone other than the copyright holder the right to distribute, perform, copy, or display the work without the author’s consent.

What Work Can Be Protected under Copyright?

The following intellectual properties can be protected under copyright:

  • Dramatic, literary, and musical works
  • Choreographic and pantomimes works
  • Graphic, pictorial, and sculptural works
  • Sound recordings
  • Motion pictures, feature films, and other audio-visual works
  • Computer programs
  • Derivate and compilation works
  • Architectural works

What Cannot Be Protected under Copyright?

There are a few things that cannot be protected under copyright. These things are:

  • Processes, ideas, procedures, methods, and systems are not copyrightable. For instance, the ingredients of a recipe cannot be copyrighted. But the instructions on how to cook those ingredients can be copyrighted
  • Short phrases, titles, names, and slogans cannot be copyrighted. However, this type of creative work can be protected under trademark.
  • Research, facts, and the news are not copyrightable
  • Any work published and carried out in the public domain is not copyrightable
  • Works that are not stored or recorded in a tangible medium of expression. For instance, a speech that is not written or recorded

What Legal Rights Do You Get under the Protection Offered by Copyright?

When you get an intellectual property copyrighted you get certain exclusive legal rights that you or someone you authorize can exercise. The legal rights are:

  • Right to reproducing your work: No one else can reproduce your work without your prior consent
  • Right to create derivative or compilation work: Under the protection, no one can use your intellectual property as a means to create a derivative work without your consent
  • Right to distribute work: You are granted the exclusive rights to distribute your work
  • Right to performance: You receive the exclusive rights to dictate who and where your creative work such as dance, drama, music, motion pictures, etc can be performed publicly
  • Right to display: Copyright gives you the sole right to decide where your work such as paintings, sculptures, photographs, etc are displayed publicly

Limitations to the Rights

These exclusive rights come with certain limitations that should not be confused with copyright infringement. The rights of fair use and compulsory license are some ways your intellectual property can be used legally. The concept of fair use has been developed over the years using court decisions and practical cases as the basis. Under this statute, the use of a copyrighted intellectual property is considered fair if it is done for the purpose of reporting, research, criticism, teaching, or scholarship. On the other hand, a compulsory license is to be obtained by a party interested in using a copyrighted intellectual property. This can be done by paying the necessary royalties and complying with statutory conditions. The compulsory license is most widely used in the music industry.

When Are the Rights Created?

You get the exclusive rights to your intellectual property as soon as it is created. You are not compulsorily required to file for copyright as long as it has been fixed in a tangible medium such as a written document or a recording of your work.

Why File for a Copyright?

Now that you know that you get exclusive legal rights to your creative work as soon as you create it, you may be thinking why even file for a copyright. But filing for a copyright can benefit you in the following ways:

  • A Public Record of Ownership is Created: Filing and registering a copyright will create a public record of the creative work in your name. These public records are published by the US Government’s office. Because the record is public people can easily search it, you can protect your copyright from being infringed
  • You Prevent Presumption of Ownership of Your Work: This is valuable if you are looking to avail financial benefits from your work. The US federal courts have established that copyright registered before or within five years of publication of your work will be considered to be the prima facie evidence. This evidence is used to legally ascertaining and validating the facts stated in the copyright including identifying the name of the owner. The fact that ownership for a creative work comes into existence when it is created, anyone can presume to be the owner of a copyright, and the person challenging it should have strong evidence to demonstrate otherwise. With a copyright registration, you will have a legal document to stake a strong claim against a copyright infringement
  • Your Right to File a Lawsuit Against Copyright Infringement is Protected: One of the most important benefits of registering your copyright is to get the ability to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement. Although you may be the owner of intellectual property, the legal system will forbid you from filing a copyright infringement lawsuit if you do not have a registration issued by the US Copyrights Office. This means you can lose your creative work to an impostor or can lose out on valuable time in registering for copyright once an infringement has occurred.
  • You Become Eligible for Receiving Statutory Damages, Costs of Suit, and Attorney Fees: Filing for a copyright registration before infringement or within three months of the publication of your work makes you eligible for receiving statutory damages for every use of your intellectual property without your consent. Registration during this period also makes you eligible for demanding and receiving attorney fees and lawsuit costs as a part of the damages incurred due to copyright infringement.
  • Protection Against Import of Your Copyright: Copyright registration with the US Copyright Office will protect your intellectual property from being imported and used on foreign soil. The US Customs and Border Protection agency will detain and seize any imported goods that violate any intellectual property rights in the US.

Why Hire an Intellectual Property Attorney?

Hiring an intellectual property attorney can help you in applying for copyright in the following ways:

  • Preparing documents for filing copyright can be complex and arduous. A copyright attorney can guide you through the entire process and aid you in preparing the documents required for submission.
  • A copyright lawyer can assist you in evaluating the price and benefits you can avail from your creative work in case you other parties request you to allow them to use your intellectual property.
  • Similarly, a copyright lawyer can help you determine if you can use a creative piece of work, or would it classify as copyright infringement. In case you cannot use the work without permission, a copyright attorney will help you negotiate the price with the owner.
  • A copyright attorney also ensures your intellectual property is protected. A seasoned attorney ensures no copyright infringement takes place and initiates a corrective action against someone who tries to misuse it

Looking for an expert intellectual property attorney? Confused how you will find one? Fill in the form provided alongside and we will help you find an expert copyright attorney who will help you secure your intellectual property.