Long Beach Copyright Lawyers
Similar to how a trademark protects a brand’s products and services, a copyright protects the creators music, a literary works, digital and artistic works, or films from having their work sold, copied, distributed or used by someone who isn’t authorized to do so. As long as their work is copyright protected, the creator of the work can seek compensation if it is taken without permission. When this is done, a Long Beach copyright lawyer should be contacted for advice and to take legal action if it warranted.
What is a Copyright?
By definition, a copyright gives the creator, or a party he or she authorizes, the legal right to print, publish, perform, film or record artistic, literary and/or musical material and it authorizes others to do so as well. If the material is used, sold copied or distributed without permission by whomever is holding the copyright, then action can be taken to stop those who are illegally using the work and to seek compensation for the use of the material.
Federal law grants copyright protection, through the United States Copyright Office, for both published and unpublished works and the protection is automatic when a piece of copyrightable work has been created. The law provides the copyright holder with the exclusive rights to make copies and distribute them, publicly perform or display a work, translate or adapt a piece for work or digitally transmit sound recordings.
Copyright laws protect a work that already exists, so they do not provide protection for the ideas within an author’s work. In addition, protection is not provided for ideas, facts, discoveries, titles, methods, works that do not have an original authorship, works that have expired copyrights and any work done by the U.S. government.
The owner of the copyright for a work has the right to allow others to use it for their own purposes. This permission may be oral or be in writing and copyrights can be sold, bought, be willed to someone else or given away. If a copyright is transferred to another person or a company, the transfer has to be done in writing. Also, copyright laws are territorial and U.S. copyright laws may, or may not, apply to works that were created in another country.
When an original piece of work is copied, distributed, performed or other used without permission, then a case may be made for copyright infringement. If you are a creator of a work, published or not, and know your work is being used, copied, distributed, etc., without your permission, a Long Beach copyright lawyer will look into your allegation and determine if a lawsuit should be filed. There are exemptions to copyright protection.
Generally, copyright infringement occurs when a piece is performed publicly, but that means where there are a significant number of people present. However, if the work is being performed or displayed by a teacher to their class or if a work is performed publicly during worship or at a religious gathering, then the work is exempt from copyright protection.
Exemptions for “fair use” and when a work is performed publicly without financial gain or a financial interest. Fair use allows copyrighted materials to be performed, displayed or otherwise used when it is for teaching, for scholarship, research, when used for criticism, comment or news reporting.
Registering a Copyright
It is important that a copyright be done legally for it to protect any work under the existing copyright laws. A copyright can be registered with the US Copyright Office and registration is required if your attorney files an infringement lawsuit and expects to help you win compensation, including attorney’s fees.
Registering a copyright requires an application, a registration fee and a nonrefundable deposit. Only a registration done within three months of publication or infringement will qualify you to be compensated for attorney’s fees and statutory damages. Otherwise, a Long Beach copyright lawyer can only win actual damages and profits.