Wichita Copyright Lawyer
You worked hard to create something new – a work of art, literature, music, logo, or some other creative work – and you want to protect your creation. A copyright can protect your creative works from someone else’s unauthorized use.
While you gain some copyright protection simply by creating the work, registering your copyright with the United States Copyright Office is necessary for maximum protection. Davis Business Law’s Wichita business attorneys can guide you through the copyright process.
What is Copyright?
Copyright is a type of intellectual property that grants exclusive rights to the creators of original works of authorship, such as literary, artistic, musical, and dramatic works. These rights include the right to reproduce, distribute, display the work publicly, and create derivative works based on the original. Copyright law protects the interests of creators and encourages the creation of new works.
In the United States, copyright protection is automatically granted when an original work is created and fixed in a tangible form, such as a book, painting, or song. However, registering a copyright with the United States Copyright Office provides additional legal protections, such as the ability to sue for copyright infringement and the right to recover statutory damages and attorneys’ fees. The traditional copyright symbol is ©, which you are probably familiar with.
Copyright law applies to many creative works, including books, music, photographs, films, software, and even choreography. The law also provides certain exceptions and limitations, such as fair use, which allows for the limited use of copyrighted material without permission for purposes such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.
For example, libraries and individuals can lend or give books or media away. This exception is available because the first sale doctrine (section 109[a] of the Copyright Act) allows owners of a legal copy of a tangible (physical) work to resell, rent, lend, or give away that copy without the copyright owner’s permission.
Copyright infringement occurs when someone uses a copyrighted work without permission or legal reason. In cases of copyright infringement, the copyright owner may seek damages, injunctions, and other legal remedies. To prove copyright infringement, the owner must show that they own a valid copyright in the work, that the alleged infringer copied the work, and that the copying was not authorized or otherwise legally justified.
What Can Be Copyrighted?
Generally, you can copyright something that is an original work of authorship as soon as you fix the work in a tangible form of expression.
A work is original when a human author independently creates something that has a minimal degree of creativity. You independently create work when you create it yourself without copying. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, a creative work must have a “spark” and “modicum” of creativity.
Creative works can include the following:
- Blog posts
- Musical compositions
- Sound recordings
- Computer programs
- Architectural works
Some things are not creative. They include the following:
- Short phrases
- Familiar symbols or designs
- Mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring
- Mere listings of ingredients or contents.
Also, copyright protects expression – not ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, or discoveries.
A work is fixed when it is captured in a sufficiently permanent medium such that it can be perceived, reproduced, or communicated for more than a short time. Generally, a work will be fixed when the author writes it down or records it.
How Long Does Copyright Protection Last?
The length of copyright protection varies depending on the type of work and the year of creation. For works created by individuals after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. For works created by corporations or under pseudonyms, the copyright lasts for 95 years from the year of first publication or 120 years from the year of creation, whichever is shorter.
When Should You Register a Copyright?
Copyright exists automatically in an original work of authorship once it is fixed. But registering a copyright with the Copyright Office can enhance your rights. The Copyright Office is part of the Library of Congress and maintains all U.S. copyright registration records, including a copyright catalog.
Registration is valuable because that step is necessary to enforce your exclusive copyright rights through litigation of an infringement action. An author must apply for registration before they can sue for infringement, even if the infringement has already occurred.
Timely registration allows a copyright owner to seek statutory damages and attorney fees in a lawsuit. Registering also creates a public record of your claim and provides a presumption that the copyright is valid.
How a Copyright Attorney Can Help You
If you have produced a creative work, you want to protect it. Your creative works are valuable assets. You do not want others using, copying, or distributing them unless it is to your benefit. Davis Business Law’s Wichita business attorneys can help protect your work.
We can guide you through registering the copyright. And our seasoned litigators can also handle your infringement claims. Call us today at (316) 252-2291 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Call us at (316) 252-2291 or complete the form below. Your form will be directly emailed to us for a quick reply, typically within 1 business day often within hours the same day. All information is confidential.
Meet Our Wichita Business Lawyers
John Sill, Esq.
Derek I. Grimes, Esq.
Jared Marsh, Esq.
151 S Whittier St
Wichita, KS 67207
Davis Business Law
Wichita, KS 67207