Copyright Law


About Copyright Law.

Copyrights protect artistic or creative works, like books, movies, pictures, sculptures, music, and computer programs. Whoever owns the copyright to a work is allowed to distribute, display, reproduce, perform, or use the work to create derivative works.

Copyright arises upon creation—regardless of date of publication or distribution to the public—and, under current law, lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. Like a trademark, there is no requirement that you register a copyright with the federal government in order to enjoy the legal right to its protection. However, without registering, you do not have the right to sue another for infringing on your copyright.

Some of the advantages of registering a copyright are:

  • Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.

  • If made before or within five years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.

  • If registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney's fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.

  • Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U.S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies.

Improper use of a copyrighted work can be litigated and recover of statutory damages—a range of damages set by Congress, which may be as much as $150,000 per work infringed—and/or actual damages may be recovered as damages.

Like a trademark or patent, copyrights can also be transferred or licensed.

Res Nova Law can help you register a copyright, enforce your rights in existing copyrights, or defend against claims of copyright infringement.

Protect Your Creative Works.

We can help you with:

  • Federal copyright registrations;

  • Copyright advising, strategy, & enforcement;

  • Work-for-hire & independent contractor agreements;

  • Option contracts for TV, films, novels, & radio;

  • Due diligence; valuation of a company's copyright assets;

  • Freedom to operate analysis;

  • Copyright licensing & assignment agreements (e.g., video, film, music, illustrations, & other media);

  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") compliance & takedowns;

  • Drafting and responding to cease-and-desist letters;

  • Copyright litigation in state & federal courts; and

  • Settlement negotiations & alternative dispute resolution (e.g., mediation & arbitration).

Check out our other articles on copyright law, and click below to learn more about the other types of intellectual property law:



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