A copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted to the author or claimant of an original work (such as a work of art), including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. Under United States law, original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible form of expression are entitled to copyright protection. A copyright lasts for a certain period of time, after which the work is said to enter the public domain. A work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression “when its embodiment in a copy, by or under the authority of the author, is sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration. For example, books, paintings, sculptures, architectural designs and plans, boat designs, software codes and tattoos are just a few examples of works that may be entitled to copyright protection.
The registration of copyrights has several advantages. The default rule in the United States is that each party bears their own litigation costs regardless of the outcome. However, the Copyright Act has a fee shifting provision. The fee shifting provision enables prevailing plaintiffs to recover attorney’s fees and costs for bringing a lawsuit against an infringer of a design or piece of artwork (the “work”) and statutory damages from the infringer if the work is timely registered. Timely registration will be gained if you register at any time before the work has been infringed, or if the work was registered within three months after the work was first published or distributed to the public. Statutory damages for each infringement can be between $750.00 to $30,000.00 per work and up to $150,000.00 if the infringement was willful. Actual damages and infringer profits can be difficult to prove due to the inherent intangible nature of copyrights. Therefore, statutory damages may be helpful in leveraging a quick and effective settlement against infringers of your work. Also, being entitled to statutory damages and attorney’s fees may make it easier to hire an attorney who is willing to take your case on a contingency basis.
Copyright protection may be only one component in an intellectual property portfolio. Copyright protection does not protect ideas, concepts, methods or systems. In certain circumstances, such ideas, concepts, methods or systems may be protecting under the patent laws. The attorneys at Plus IP are patent attorneys registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office and are available to assist you in determining the most effective way to protect you work.
The attorneys at Plus IP Firm have extensive experience filing copyright applications and obtaining copyright protection for a variety of clients. The U.S. Copyright Act also protects all scientific and artistic works, whether they are published or unpublished, and grants the author of the piece the exclusive rights to the work. Plus IP can assist you in obtaining copyright protection for your work, whether it is written source code, graphics, listed data, paintings, drawings, books, articles or the like. Plus IP can also help you with enforcement of your copyrighted materials, including copyright infringement claims. The attorneys at Plus IP have successfully represented many clients in enforcing their copyrights and defending against charges of copyright infringement. The Plus IP attorneys are available to any questions that you may have regarding your copyright law questions.