Copyright Attorney based in New York & Serving all of the USA.
Helping You Protect And Profit From Your Creativity
Writers, musicians, artists, photographers, and software designers have unique creative talents to share with the world. Unfortunately, many would take your hard work and try to profit from it themselves.
When you create something new, it belongs to you and no one else. John C. Laurence is a copyright lawyer in New York, NY, who understands this notion and will fight for the rights of those who produce and share creative works. He can help you take steps to develop and enforce your copyright in creative works.
- What Is Copyright?
- Why Do I Need To Register My Copyright?
- How Do I Register A Copyright?
- What Is Copyright Licensing And How Can It Benefit Me?
- What Is Copyright Infringement?
- What Can I Do About Copyright Infringement?
Copyright is a type of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship as soon as an author fixes the work in a tangible form of expression. Many different types of works are protected under copyright law, including paintings, photographs, illustrations, musical compositions, sound recordings, computer programs, books, poems, blog posts, movies, architectural works, plays, and more.
Copyright provides the author with exclusive rights to the creative work, including:
- Reproducing the creative work,
- Creating derivative works based on the creative work,
- Distributing copies of the creative work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership or by rental, lease, or lending,
- Performing the creative work publicly if it is a literary, musical, dramatic, or choreographic work; a pantomime; or a motion picture or other audiovisual work,
- Displaying the work publicly if it is a literary, musical, dramatic, or choreographic work; a pantomime; or a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, applying the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, and
- Performing the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission if the work is a sound recording.
You don’t have to do anything to own the copyright on your work. Copyright protection is afforded the moment the author fixes the creative work in a tangible form of expression. Currently, the copyright term is the author’s life plus seventy years after the author’s death. If the work is a joint work, the term is seventy years after the last surviving author’s death. For works made for hire and anonymous or pseudonymous works, copyright protection is 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.
Although copyright arises from the moment a creative work is fixed in a tangible form of expression, it is essential to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office to enforce those rights fully.
Registering your copyright puts others on notice that you own the work. It can also provide necessary evidence of your ownership when someone later claims to have created the work first.
Additionally, registering your copyright is requisite to pursue a lawsuit for copyright infringement in court. If your copyright is not registered, you are limiting the remedies available to you in court against those who would use your work for their profit.
It’s a good idea to consult a copyright attorney before submitting your registration application to the U.S. Copyright Office. They can review your application and highlight any concerns that could cause your application to be rejected.
The first thing you need to do is to prepare your application. Different types of works require different registration forms, so it’s essential that you use the right one. You will need to include:
- Copies of your work,
- The correct registration form for your type of work; and
- Your registration fee.
You will need to include two copies of the work for published works, and for unpublished works, you will typically need only one. The copies of your work are stored in the Library of Congress.
You can submit your application either online or by mail.
An online application is usually quicker and cheaper. However, you will need to send copies of your work by mail in many cases, even if you submit your application online.
If you send your application by mail, you can print your registration form or request that the Copyright Office mail you a form. You will need to include your registration form, copies of the work, and registration fee, all in the same package.
It generally takes between three and nine months for the Copyright Office to process your application.
If you filed your application online, you can also check its status online. If you filed by mail, you can follow up with the Copyright Office after about six weeks.
If the Copyright Office accepts your application, it will mail you a certificate of registration. If it cannot grant the copyright, it will send you a letter explaining why. In some cases, the Copyright Office will reach out to you for more information before making a decision.
Copyright licensing is a great way to profit from your creative works. For a fee, you can permit others to use your work for specific purposes.
If you are considering licensing your work, it’s essential to speak with an NYC copyright attorney. Licenses can involve complex contracts that should address various details such as:
- How long the license will last;
- What things your work can be used for;
- Whether the license is exclusive;
- Whether the licensee can expand upon or alter your work;
- How much the licensee will pay you to use the work;
- Whether an how the licensee must credit you for your work;
- Whether the license can be assigned; and
- What happens if the licensee violates the contract.
A copyright lawyer in New York can help you negotiate a license agreement in your best interest. You should never sign a license agreement without at least having an attorney review it.
Copyright infringement occurs when someone copies your original work without permission. As the copyright owner, you have the exclusive right to make copies or authorize others to make copies. Thus, you have the right to seek a remedy if someone violates your copyright.
A New York copyright lawyer can help you understand your options and take swift action against copyright infringement. Typically, your lawyer will help you take one or more of the following actions.
In most cases, your attorney will start by sending a cease and desist letter to the infringing party. The letter will demand that the infringer stop using your work and compensate you for the improper use. Your lawyer will then work with the infringer to negotiate a settlement to compensate you for their harmful actions.
In some cases, you may consider negotiating with the infringing party to license the copyright to them. If you can reach an agreement, the infringer will pay you to continue using your work.
If someone continues to use your work and refuses to comply with your demands that they stop doing so, you can ask the court for an injunction. An injunction orders the infringing party to stop using your work.
If you can’t settle with the infringing party, you can file a lawsuit asking the court to award you damages. If you can show that the infringing party profited from using your work or that you lost income due to their actions, the court can use those numbers to calculate your damages.
If your actual damages were low or you don’t have enough evidence to demonstrate them, you can ask for statutory damages instead. Statutory damages typically range from $750 to $30,000 per infringement. And if you can prove that the infringer acted willfully, you could recover up to $150,000 per infringement.
Although you may be tempted to deal with copyright infringement on your own, you will likely get the best results with the help of a copyright lawyer in New York.
As you can see from the summary above, you have many options for the enforcement of your copyright. The right option for you will depend on your individual circumstances. A New York copyright lawyer can analyze the facts of your case and advise you of the best method for maximizing your compensation and protecting your copyright from further infringement.
Protecting your copyright from infringement takes time and effort. However, sleeping on your rights can impact your ability to enforce them. It’s essential to take steps to monitor your work so you can act quickly to enforce your rights.
An attorney can be a valuable asset when it comes to monitoring your work and enforcing your copyright. If your attorney is involved in the monitoring process, they can also take swift action against violators.
Google is an excellent fundamental way to monitor the use of your work online. You can set up Google Alerts keyed to specific unique phrases. Or you can use Google Image Search to see how your work is being used online. Unfortunately, while Google is better than using nothing, it will likely catch only a fraction of violations.
There are also third-party software programs, such as Copyscape and Pixsy, that are specifically designed to catch copyright violations. Depending on the type of work you have, programs like these may help you combat infringement.
TCP Law has extensive experience with intellectual property law, including copyrights, trademarks, and patents. We can help you with every aspect of your copyright, from registration to licensing and enforcement. Call us now or contact us online to set up a consultation. We are excited to see what we can do for you.
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