Copyright law is designed to protect authors from unauthorized reproductions of their works. While copyright law is definitely important to all types of creative professionals, it impacts everyday businesses as well.
Copyright practice appears deceptively simple. However, successful navigation of this area of law will allow you to ensure that rights to copyrightable materials created by you or your company remain your property. Mistakes in copyright practice often result in clouded ownership of works, especially works made within your business.
Copyright registration is a low-cost, yet beneficial option for securing certain rights in a written or recorded work.
Copyright law is also the most consistent area of law as far as international protection is concerned. In some instances, copyrights spanning multiple countries are possible.
Copyright Services and Registration
Copyright law is used to protect any work fixed in a physical medium like paper or a computer’s disk. For example, this brochure is copyrighted. Recorded music is copyrighted, television transmissions are copyrighted.
The owner of the copyright to a work is the only person who can permit the work to be: copied, used as a basis for a subsequent work, copied and the copies sold or rented, publicly performed, publicly displayed, imported into the country where the work is registered.
Copyright protection does not create a monopoly to the underlying idea being expressed in the work, only the work itself. For example, a copyright to a book describing how to build a clock does not prevent unauthorized parties from using the idea contained in the book to build the clock, only prevents copying of the book itself.
Copyright law contains a series of doctrines, most of limited applicability. However, when a doctrine is applicable to your situation, it becomes important.
For example, under copyright law, the original author of a work is the owner of the underlying copyright. However, this ownership status can change depending on whether the author was a full-time employee, and the details of the creation of the work.
Copyrights may optionally be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. In the U.S., the Copyright Office is a part of the Library of Congress. Copyrighted works should be properly designated. Failure to register does not result in waiver of copyright. However, registration is necessary to obtain certain types of monetary damages from infringers.
Costs and Process
Most services dealing with copyright law involve our office providing legal advice in regards to a particular legal issue. As such, we charge our usual hourly rates. The cost of the work depends on the nature of the project.
For example, if your business needs assistance ensuring that work done by outside contractors remains your property, we would have to analyze the work and the facts involved, and draft the necessary paperwork.
The filing of a copyright application can be done through our office at minimal cost. For a simple written work, the cost of preparing the filing, and the government filing fee will be approximately $175.
If one of your works are being infringed, we can pursue the matter in federal court, but the cost of litigation is impossible to state in general terms. Please contact our office and we can discuss the costs of your project before we begin the work.
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+1 (312) 621-1330