Copyright law protects the expression of an idea fixed in a tangible medium.  Thus, the protection is more limited than other aspects of intellectual property law.  However, if copyright infringement is found, relief to the copyright owner can include an order against further infringement as well as money damages.  Damages may also include attorneys’ fees and costs.  Infringers may also be subject to criminal prosecution and may be imprisoned if found guilty.

Types of works covered by copyright law include:

  • literary;
  • musical;
  • dramatic;
  • pantomimes and choreographic works;
  • audiovisual works;
  • sound recordings;
  • derivative works;
  • compilations; and
  • architectural works.

In order to proceed with a copyright infringement action, you must register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office which is part of the Library of Congress.

Copyright notice is given by using “©” followed by the year or years in which the work was published and the owner.  In addition, a statement such as “all rights reserved” or “no unauthorized use permitted” may follow the notice.  This puts the public on notice of your intent to enforce your rights via copyright law.

We work with clients to identify and protect their copyrightable materials.  In addition, we advise clients on ways to assert their rights against third parties and how to respect the copyrights of others.  We also advise clients on ways in which they may license out their works or license in the works of others.