What is a Copyright Attorney?
A copyright attorney is a legal professional responsible for facilitating an individual’s copyright search and the registration endeavor. Copyright professionals are experienced and adept at evaluating copyright laws to expedite the obtainment of copyrights for an individual’s creative works. Because of their knowledge, these legal professionals are integral agents in the search and attainment of a copyright.
According to United States’ copyright laws, all individuals have “common law” copyrights to any creative expressions once they are expressed as a “fixed medium.” However, you will need to hire a copyright attorney if you require a copyright registration because you wish to secure protection before marketing your creation (song, software, transcript or any other creative expression). Whether your creative work is a literary piece, a visual art, a sound recording or web design, copyright attorneys will offer expert registration and obtainment services.
A copyright attorney will aid their clients with navigating the copyright registration process. Once obtained, a registered copyright will provide exclusive rights to you, the owner of the creative work. Copyrights have an active life of your lifespan plus an additional 70 years.
Copyright attorneys are particularly skilled in obtaining copyrights for creative works. These legal professionals are adept in this practice because they have experience with preparing copyright contract and tailoring the applications to your particular needs.
What you must know About Copyright Laws:
If you are working in a creative capacity, all copyright applications in the United States must be submitted at least every three months in order to preserve your rights to your new creations. For example, if you update your website with new graphics or text, a copyright attorney will submit a derivative work copyright application within three months of said updates. Without this submission, you will be deprived of receiving your statutory rights as a creator. These rights include: protection against statutory damages (maximum of $150,000 for each infringement of your copyrighted material) and attorney fees. More importantly, you are required to have a copyright registration in order to pursue a legal claim if your work has been infringed upon. Registering a copyright thus shifts the burden to the infringing party for showing ownership of a disputed creation.
Copyright attorneys provide advice regarding the best method for protecting your creative works. Copyright attorneys will review all materials associated with your copyright endeavor. They will obtain all pertinent information before submitting your copyright application to the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress. Moreover, once you obtain a copyright, copyright attorneys will assist you in upholding and protecting your rights as well as preparing agreements to allow others to market or use your works. Because copyright licensing involves some of the most detailed and complex licensing contract drafting, copyright attorneys are forced to use their expansive knowledge to draft contracts that specifically fit your needs.
A copyright issued in the United States does not automatically grant you international protection; there are a number of countries that provide protection for foreign works through international copyright conventions and treaties. As such, copyright attorneys, through their experience and knowledge of copyright law, can provide you with advice in choosing the proper areas for your works and getting you the most protection throughout the world.
Do I Need a Copyright Attorney?
You should hire a copyright attorney if you are a creator of any innovative works. Copyright attorneys should be hired even if you are experienced with the registration process. A legal professional’s value, in its lowest form, serves as an insurance policy—copyright attorneys can advise you on any situation aligned with your works.
If you do not protect your created works with registered copyrights and another party passes the work off as their own, the burden of proof is placed on your shoulders to show that you are indeed the creator of the work. The easiest way to protect your rights is to register your creations with the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.
Once you have registered a copyright, you are awarded the exclusive rights to the original creation, the rights to all copies of your creation, the rights to derivative works based on your creation, the rights to all distribution of copies, the rights to perform public works of your creation and the rights to any digital renderings of your creation.
To obtain maximum protection from your registered copyright, you must file the copyright application prior to the publication of your work—the copyright application must be filed before your work is made public or within 3 months of official publication.
A copyright allows you to retain control of your creative work. Common law copyright statutes say that any “fixed medium” of your creative work means that it is yours. Unfortunately, unless you have filed for a copyright registration on your work, you may have a difficult time proving your standing in a court of law. Copyright attorneys can help.
Once something is copyrighted, it lasts for the entire life of the creator, plus 70 years. A copyright attorney can help you apply for this important registration to ensure that you get credit for your work. There are serious penalties for copyright infringement, including fines of up to $150,000. If you need to apply for a copyright on your original work, you should contact a copyright attorney.
Copyright attorneys deal with all different types of mediums, such as the internet, print, radio, and TV. Depending on where your work appears, one copyright attorney may have more experience in one area than another. Internet copyright attorneys are in high demand today, as the legal system is quite specific on ownership of website content, such as videos, pictures, and text. Just because someone cites a reference to where they found the content they used does not exclude them from possible prosecution.
Copyright attorneys help protect creative works. It’s an important role in today’s society and it’s best to contact a copyright attorney as soon as you have your work ready. The faster the process is completed, the better chance you have of it being approved. This will protect all your hard work.