Copyright is a form of legal protection for written works including computer software, music and recordings, dramatic works, choreographic works, photographs, paintings, graphics, sculptures, audio video works, and architectural works. Generally, copyright laws protect any creative work that can be seen, heard or touched (either directly or with the aid of a machine). As such, copyright can provide significant protection for a broad range of intellectual property. However, securing all of the benefits of copyright protection can be tricky and failure to take certain prescribed action can result in loss of rights.
Our Copyright practice helps our clients devise strategies to protect and maximize the value of their copyrighted works through a process of evaluation, copyright clearance and registration. We routinely advise clients on the sourcing and use of copyrighted materials, as well as the use and misuse of copyrighted works owned or licensed by the client. Our goal is to ensure that copyright owners properly establish and protect their ownership interests and that those acquiring content obtain the rights they need to achieve their goals.
Our copyright practice involves counseling clients to obtain protection and rights to use and profit from copyrighted material, including non-infringement clearance searches, copyright registration, protection and enforcement of rights through litigation or defenses of fair-use, and perfection of security interests in copyrightable subject matter (including software, advertising materials, websites, books, movies, plays, architectural drawings or blueprints and a wide variety of other creative works). Additionally, we have extensive experience negotiating and drafting agreements relevant to copyrighted works, such as publisher agreements, advertising agreements, assignments and licenses, distributor contracts, and value-added re-seller arrangements.
We assist our clients in the protection of these works, including filing and registration with the Library of Congress. Original intellectual works, whether for business or artistic expression, are deemed copyrighted from the moment of creation. Yet, without formally registering the creation, key advantages are not available to the copyright owner. We also have provided advice and guidance on the protection of our clients’ work against infringement, whether through the use of the Copyright Act, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or other federal and state laws. Our copyright practice has been intimately involved in the investigation and prosecution, and defense of infringement claim litigation, and in the negotiation and drafting of settlement agreements.
There is no reason to do without the strategic benefits of copyright registration. Until your work is registered, you cannot file an infringement suit if someone infringes on your work. By registering your work, not only do we establish a public record of your copyright claim, we counsel you on how to enforce the specific rights that become available to you upon registration.
We regularly counsel our clients concerning the creation of and protectability of their works and how to avoid infringement of other's works, whether by setting up company policies on distribution, copying, internet usage, reprints and the like, or by addressing one-off situations. It is important to note that copyright rights initially vest with the author of the work – this can have devastating consequences if an employer or client does not take steps to ensure that the ownership and copyright rights of copy, advertising material, website, or other commissioned works do not vest with the client but remain with the author. We counsel clients on the transfer of ownership rights and ensure that these transactions are properly documented and monitored.
In court actions, the timing of registration makes the difference between the aggrieved owner receiving only actual damages and profits, or being entitled to statutory damages and attorney's fees. In fact, there are some evidentiary benefits even for those copyright owners who register up to five years after publication.
Recognizing the burden of bogus copies flooding the market, our copyright attorneys take the necessary steps to record our clients’ registration with the U. S. Customs Service to guard against the importation of infringing copies. Our attorneys have processed hundreds of copyright applications for a diverse array of creative parties.
When disputes arise, we prosecute and defend infringement and ownership issues. We also perform transactional work, including licensing creative works with the best possible terms and safeguards. By protecting your intellectual creations, Polsinelli protects your bottom line.
Our copyright attorneys know how important protecting the creations of individuals and companies are to the lifeblood of innovation and the ability reap its rewards. That’s why we have experience in a wide range of resources and services to protect intellectual property of all kinds:
- Unfair competition
- Licensing and merchandising
- Electronic commerce, e-business and Internet law
- Rights of publicity and celebrity
- Software, patent, trademark and copyright litigation