Representing Individuals and Businesses in Matters of Copyright Law
Intellectual property is the lifeblood of many companies and individual creators. When you create something with artistic and commercial value, it is in your best interest to exercise your legal rights and protect that value. Copyright is one of several intellectual property protection tools available to creators.
At Potts Law Firm, we are committed to helping our clients understand and exercise their intellectual property rights, including copyrights. Our team is also made up of skilled litigators who are prepared to assist with enforcement actions if someone infringes your copyrights. No matter your needs, our responsive copyright lawyers have the power, knowledge, locations, and reach required to provide innovative, dependable representation.
If you have questions about registering copyrights, do not hesitate to schedule a free initial consultation by calling (888) 420-1299 or contacting us online. Same-day appointments are available, and we provide our services in English and Spanish.
What Is a Copyright and What Does It Protect?
A copyright protects the tangible expression of an “Original Work of Authorship” (OWA). An OWA must have been independently created (meaning it is not the product of duplication) and required some degree of creativity and mental work to generate.
The creation must have some sort of physical form. An idea alone cannot be copyrighted: It must be written down or otherwise expressed in order to potentially qualify for copyright protection.
Examples of works that may be eligible for copyright include:
- Architectural designs
- Computer software
- Art (including drawings, graphic designs, and paintings)
- Films (including features, television shows, and short films)
- Music (including lyrics, compositions, and recordings)
- Written works (including novels, scripts, short stories, website content, and poetry)
Ideas and other intangible modes of expression are not copyrightable. Logos and slogans, while arguably tangible expressions of original ideas, are protected by trademarks, not copyrights, while patents protect inventions.
When a work is copyrighted, the creator has the exclusive right to duplicate and exploit that work until the copyright expires. No one else can lawfully use a copyrighted work without express permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright is triggered automatically whenever a work is tangibly created. However, it is always a good idea to register copyrights as soon as possible, as you can only file a copyright infringement lawsuit if the copyright has been formally registered. Our copyright attorneys offer comprehensive, tailored assistance with the registration process.
When Do Copyrights Expire?
Copyright protection is not indefinite. When an author creates a copyrighted work, the exclusive rights and protection expire 75 years after the creator pass away. This remains true even if the creator chooses to transfer ownership to someone else.
When an original work is created by an employee for an employer, the work is considered a “work for hire.” In these situations, the employer is considered the “owner” of the copyright, and the exclusive rights and protections expire 95 years after the work was created.
What Can I Do If Someone Infringes My Copyright?
As the owner of a copyrighted work, you alone have the right to decide when it is displayed, performed, presented, duplicated, and distributed. You can choose to give others permission to use your work in specific capacities, but a person or organization unlawfully infringes your copyright when they exploit your protected work without your explicit permission.
Enforcing your copyright typically involves filing a copyright infringement lawsuit. Again, you can only take legal action against copyright infringement if you registered the infringed copyright.
In a copyright infringement lawsuit, you can recover “actual” damages or “statutory” damages, but not both. You can only seek statutory damages if you registered your work before the infringement occurred or within three months of the work’s publication. The dollar amount of statutory damages is determined by law, and the amount you recover will depend on the number of infringements and whether the defendant intended to violate your intellectual property rights.
Actual damages cover any demonstrable financial losses you suffered due to the infringement, such as lost revenue. When you seek actual damages, you are also entitled to any profits the defendant earned as a result of their infringement.
Do not wait to contact us online or call (888) 420-1299 if someone is infringing your copyright. We can help you wherever you are.
Our copyright lawyers at Potts Law Firm are ready to fight for you if any of your copyrights were violated. Our team recognizes that copyright infringement can do substantial damage to your personal and professional brand, which is why we act quickly to stop intellectual property theft and enforce your right to recovery. We will carefully review the circumstances and advise whether seeking actual or statutory damages is more financially advantageous. You can count on us to do whatever it takes as we pursue the best possible outcome.
If you are unsure if you have a case, don’t hesitate to call us today for a free consultation. Our team of experienced attorneys are ready to review your claim and fight for you.
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“They know the law from every angle, dig deep, and will not accept anything less than what was asked in the original suit. The Potts team never backed down until the case was settled in full.”- Molly H.