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Copyrights

Copyrights

As an author, artist, or other business, you spend countless hours finetuning your craft and producing other works. The use of your work without your permission is both emotionally and financially draining. We can help pursue copyright registration and enforcement to ensure that you retain control over your work.

What is a Copyright?

Federal law defines copyright as protection “in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.”

In other words, it gives the author of a work exclusive rights to its use and distribution. Copyright protects original works such as:
literature, music, lyrics, drama, choreography, artwork, movies, sound recordings, and architectural works.

Copyright protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself. So why register your copyright? Simply put, you need legal footing to protect your original work(s) when someone attempts to infringe on it–whether creating an exact copy or creating a similar work and claiming it as their own.

Why Copyrights Matter for Your Business

Copyright registration is not required by law, but obtaining one is vital to your business. It gives you the right to pursue legal action against those who use and profit from your hard-earned work without compensating you.

How to Obtain Copyright Protection

There are two ways that copyright protection is established. First, copyright exists for your work at the time it is created and fixed in a tangible medium (unlike patents). So, if you write a poem down on paper, it can be automatically copyrighted.

The second method for establishing copyright protection is by registering with the United States Copyright Office.

Common Steps to Pursuing a Registered Copyright

Fix the Work in a Tangible Medium

To be registered and enforceable, copyrights must be expressed in a tangible medium.
For example, a poem or song that exists in your head cannot be copyrighted. You must write down the poem or record the music if you wish to actually protect it.

Online Registration

First, we will help you create an account with the Copyright Office’s Electronic Copyright Registration System. After creating an account, we can begin the application and select the type of work that you wish to copyright by providing information such as:

  • Title
  • Author(s)
  • Creation date (when the work was fixed in a tangible medium)
  • Publication date (when the work was distributed to others)
  • Claimant (either the author or a person to whom the copyright has been transferred)

You’ll also be asked about derivative work, which is essentially a work that includes elements of previously-created work. An example of a derivative work is a new version of a textbook, which has previous revisions and editions.

Submit a Copy and Pay a Fee

Part of the application process involves providing a copy of the work for further review. If your work can be transmitted digitally– like a book, for example–then you can upload it in eCO. Otherwise, you’ll need to mail a physical copy.

Application Review

After the Copyright Office reviews the application, it may refuse to register the work for various reasons:

  • The work lacks human authorship.
  • The work is not covered by copyright law. For example, attempting to copyright your business name (which would actually be a trademark).
  • The work is already in the public domain.
  • The work has already been copyrighted in another nation.

If refused, the Copyright Office will notify you in writing.

Registration

If the application review finds registration to be appropriate, then the Copyright Office notifies you and sends a certificate of registration for your work.

Protecting Copyrighted Material

There are several ways in which you can protect your copyrighted material. First, make sure your work is properly marked. One important method for protecting your work is to keep or register supporting evidence of your creation. Registering your work may also be an important step, but it is not necessary to seek enforcement. Carson Law can assist you with Cease and Desist Letters, Take Down Notices, and licensing of your work. We can ensure that your work is protected in the most effective ways possible!

Our Copyright Experts

At Carson Law, we can assist you in every area of copyright law–from initial filing with the Copyright Office to enforcement if your work is distributed without your permission.