Copyright Law

The original copyright act of 1790 was created for “the encouragement of learning,” granting “the author and authors of any map, chart, book or books … the sole right and liberty of printing, reprinting, publishing such map, chart, book or books…” (Copyright Act of 1790, 1 Stat. 124 (1790)). Since that time copyright protection has been expanded to include not just literary works, but dramatic, musical, and artistic works. In addition to the broadening of the materials covered by copyright protection, rules have been added allowing individuals other than the author to hold the initial copyright on a work.

Copyright protection attaches when any copyrightable work is fixed in a tangible medium. While a copyright owner gains some basic protection upon creation of a copyrightable work, the federal government allows for registration of a copyright, providing enormous advantages to a copyright owner. Two of the most beneficial advantages to registration of a copyright are the right to statutory damages and the right to bring lawsuit for infringement of a copyright owner’s rights.

If you have ever wondered how a record company can recover $750 for an illegal download of a song that would cost $1.29 when legally downloaded from the internet, the answer is statutory damages. Statutory damages, available only for copyrights registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, allow the plaintiff in a copyright infringement suit to recover between $200 and $150,000 from a single infringer of a single work. In order to recover these statutory damages, the work must be registered prior to the infringement or within three months of first publication of the work. If registration is not applied for in time to recover statutory damages, the copyright owner can only recover actual damages or additional profits of the infringer. The amount of actual damages or additional profits can be difficult and costly to prove and, in most cases, will result in lower recovery than if statutory damages were available. The value of statutory damages granted by registration, can discuss your concerns toward infringement of your work and work with you to obtain copyright registration for your work. We offer copyright registration services for a flat fee!

Many times the value of a copyright to a creator of a work is realized through allowing others to make use of the work. We are able to draft licensing agreements to fulfill your goals. In order to maintain the value of your licensing, actions must be taken to keep others from infringing upon your copyright. We are able to work with you to take the actions necessary to prevent others from infringing upon your copyright and bring suit if others do infringe upon your copyright.

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