Copyrights protect original authorship works, covering various creative expressions such as books, music, and art. As a form of intellectual property, the copyright plays a vital role in encouraging artists and others to do what they love. At the same time, the holder gets to determine who, and under what conditions, third parties may use their works. This prevents unauthorized individuals and companies from profiting from their creativity and ingenuity.
SederLaw helps people and businesses register, maintain, and enforce their copyrights. We are a comprehensive intellectual property law firm that can advise and represent you in all aspects of the copyright process.
What Is The Copyright?
A copyright is a type of intellectual property that protects “original works of authorship” once they are fixed in a tangible form. That means that creative work is considered copyrighted from the moment it exists in physical, digital, or audio form. Numerous works may be copyrighted, including:
- Books, poems, and written articles
- Photographs and videos
- Artwork, animation, and illustrations
- Graphic designs
- Architectural works
- Musical compositions
- Movies and plays
- Spoken word recordings
- Software and website content
- Toys and games
There are two basic prerequisites that must be met for a work to be copyrighted:
- Original. This means the work was actually done by the individual or company holding the property, with at least a minimal degree of creativity. Certain things are not considered creative original works for purposes of copyright, such as names, titles, slogans, and lettering.
- Tangible. To copyright one’s work, it’s not enough to have an idea or vague concept of it in your mind. The work must be fixed in a “sufficiently permanent medium” so that it can be perceived, reproduced, or communicated.
The length of a copyright is subject to statutory change. Under current law, and for most works created on or after January 1, 1978, copyrights last for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years after the author’s death. Other time frames may apply depending on the nature of the work and its creators, for example with respect to work-for-hire and anonymous works.
What Is Copyright Registration?
Although a work is copyrighted the moment it meets the above qualifications, copyright registration enhances the ability of the holder to enforce his or her rights. Registration is not mandatory, but it is required to bring a court action in the event someone infringes on a copyright. Moreover, registration allows the holder to pursue monetary damages and court and attorney’s fees. Registration is available only through the United States Copyright Office.
What Rights Do Copyright Holders Have?
The owners of a copyright enjoy a number of exclusive rights under law. They include the right to:
- Reproduce the work in copies, recordings, and other mediums
- Create derivative works that are based upon the original work
- Sell and distribute copies of the work to the public
- Transfer ownership of the work by rental, lease, license, or lending
- Perform, display, or show the work publicly, including for a profit
- Produce a digital audio transmission of the work (for a sound recording)
- Authorize others to exercise the above exclusive rights
How Can SederLaw Help?
Our seasoned intellectual property attorneys understand all aspects of copyright law, from initial and contested registrations to enforcement of copyrights in litigation and defense against claims of infringement. If you are the original author of a tangible work, we can assist with the following:
- Copyright registration, including preparing and filing the necessary paperwork
- Administrative appeals of copyright registration refusals
- Developing licensing agreements, assignments, and work-for-hire contracts
- Negotiating literary and other rights involving copyrighted works
- Issues that arise over fair use, public domain, and claims of expired copyrights
- Reviewing marketing, media, and advertising materials for possible copyright issues
- Litigation to both enforce claims of copyright infringement and to defend clients accused of it
- Cease-and-desist letters, online takedown notices, injunctions, and other actions
- Alternative dispute resolution to address copyright claims outside of court
- Assessing copyright issues in the context of corporate mergers, acquisitions, and other business transactions
- General counsel to advise clients regarding the development, ownership, and distribution of copyright
- Strategies for monetizing copyright and enhancing the profitability and protection of the work
Clients We Represent
Both individuals and businesses can hold copyrights, and SederLaw is proud to represent both. We provide legal counsel and advocacy for the following clients:
- Authors and writers
- Photographers, illustrators, and animators
- Artists and designers
- Musicians, choreographers, and playwrights
- Entertainers and media outlets
- Software and website developers
These are just a few of our clients. No matter the nature of the copyrighted work, or whether the holder is an individual or a large corporation, we are prepared to meet your legal needs.
Contact Our Worcester Copyright Attorney
At SederLaw, we understand the value of your copyright. And we know the importance of ensuring that your rights are protected from infringement so you can enjoy the full use of your intellectual property. If you have questions about intellectual property or you are involved in a dispute over one, let our dedicated attorneys help. Connect with our intellectual property law team today.