Original works of authorship, resulting in protected copyright material, constantly come into being, thanks to the creative efforts of our clients, their employees, and contractors. Software source code, writings and other texts, photographs, instructional drawings, works of art, film and video recordings, music, and even textile fabric patterns are just some of forms of creative expression covered by the provisions of the Copyright Act. Properly understanding and managing copyrightable content is essential to the success of its creators, especially in light of the ease by which individuals can share and disseminate digital material via mobile devices and other connected technologies.

Copyrights, which are a bundle of proprietary rights, afford their owners valuable assets that can be leveraged in the marketplace in a multitude of ways, such as controlling the right to reproduce and make copies of the works, preparing derivative works from existing works, distributing copies of the works by sale, rental, lease, or lending, and even publicly performing and displaying the works. Companies who carefully safeguard and manage these rights can reap tremendous rewards. Unfortunately, some businesses never get the chance to do so. It is all too common that would-be copyright holders leave the question of ownership, title, and license of rights to chance, such as when non-employees, like independent contractors, prepare copyrightable materials for a company but fail to expressly provide for a transfer of rights through an assignment or “work-made-for-hire” agreement back to the company.

The attorneys of Emory Legal know the significance of building and protecting a powerful and prosperous copyright portfolio, whether it is through the development of registration policies and procedures, copyright licensing agreements, work-made-for-hire agreements, or creating a copyright licensing program, counseling on the fair use of copyrighted content, and counseling on the anti-circumvention and safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). When enforcement of copyright rights is essential or defense against charges of infringement is imminent, the experienced litigation attorneys at Emory Legal offer a broad spectrum of litigation services.

Regardless of the industry, product, or service, the copyright expertise of Emory Legal’s professionals allows our firm to effectively counsel clients across the full array of copyright issues they face. We side with our clients and tailor solutions that fit their business goals, provide leverage in the marketplace, and safeguard their rights in the copyrights they create. Emory Legal offers a comprehensive suite of copyright services, including:

  • Copyright application preparation, filing and registration services.
  • Copyright counseling and portfolio development.
  • Copyright licensing agreements.
  • Copyright infringement opinions.
  • Copyright litigation in federal and state courts.
  • Recordation of copyrights with the customs office in the U.S. and abroad.

To talk with an experienced copyright attorney about your copyright needs, please contact Emory Legal at 619-752-0249 or info@emorylegal.com.

What does a copyright protect

Copyright protects original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression, whether published or unpublished, and include but are not limited to literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyrights do not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way they are expressed.

What original works of authorship are capable of copyright protection?

Copyrightable works include:

  • literary works, e.g. including books, computer programs, compilations
  • musical works, including any accompanying words
  • dramatic works, including any accompanying music
  • pantomimes and choreographic works
  • pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works, e.g. photographs, paintings, maps, architectural plans
  • motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • sound recordings
  • architectural works, e.g. the design of a building embodied in a tangible medium of expression, including a building, architectural plans, or drawings.

What rights are conferred by a copyright?

A copyright provides the owner the following exclusive rights to do and to authorize others to do the following:

  • To reproduce the work.
  • To prepare derivative works based upon the work.
  • To distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending.
  • To perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works.
  • To display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work; and
  • In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

Can a domain name be copyrighted?

No.

Can I copyright a name, band name, title, slogan or logo?

Copyrights do not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. These items may be capable to serving as trademarks. Copyright protection may exist for logo artwork that contains sufficient authorship, and may also be subject to trademark protection.

Does an original work of authorship have to be published in order to receive copyright protection?

No, publication is not necessary.

When does copyright protection begin?

Copyright protection exists the moment the original work of authorship is created and fixed in a tangible medium of expression that is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

If copyright protection is automatic, why should I obtain a federal copyright registration?

Obtaining a federal copyright registration provides the owner many benefits:

  • Allows the owner to file an infringement action in court (registration is a necessary pre-requisite before a suit may be brought for a US work);
  • Statutory damages and attorney’s fees are available if a registration was obtained before the infringement began, otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner;
  • Provides public record of the copyright claim;
  • Registration serves as prima facie evidence of the validity, if the registration is obtained within 5 years of publication; and
  • Registration allows the owner to record the registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency for protection against the importation of infringing copies.

How is a federal copyright registration obtained?

A completed application must be submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office (either in paper or electronically), along with the applicable nonrefundable government filing fee, and a nonreturnable deposit, i.e. a copy or copies of the work to be registered and deposited with the copyright office.

How long does it take to obtain a copyright registration?

Registration times vary, and can be expedited for an additional fee, but the average processing time for electronic applications is 8 months, whereas paper applications is 14 months. To see the Copyright Office’s current processing times, please visit http://copyright.gov/eco/.