A copyright is a form of protection granted to the author of an original work. This work could be a song, a painting, a picture, poetry, movies, software, books, and even architecture. If you have created an original work and would like to ensure its protection, speak with an intellectual property attorney who can help you properly secure a copyright. You need to have copyright protection on your work if you want to sue someone for copyright infringement.
What is a copyright infringer?
Did you know that one of the most well known songs in the world is protected by copyright? If a copyright protected work is used for a commercial purpose or publicly performed without permission of the owner, the user is infringing on that copyright. The song “Happy Birthday” earns royalties each year for its use. Chances are singing it to someone in your family around the dinner table probably won’t subject you paying a royalty fee. However, according to copyright law, if you are in a restaurant and the server sings to you, unless they have an agreement with the owner of the rights to the song, they are infringing on that copyright.
There are many ways to potentially infringe on someone’s copyright. Some of the most common examples are:
• Burning DVDs and CDs. If you burn a copy of a CD and give it to a friend, you have violated the copyright.
• Making copies of books. There are limited exceptions to this if the book is being used for educational or research purposes. An intellectual property attorney can help you understand what is allowed under the Doctrine of Fair Use.
• Using someone else’s photograph. This is especially common for people with websites who post pictures that do not belong to them.
If you have created a work and someone else is playing your song or using your picture without your permission, you can seek an action for copyright infringement. An intellectual property attorney can help you determine whether someone is infringing on your copyright.
We can help protect your intellectual property rights
Seeking legal action against a copyright infringer can be a costly and difficult process. Some copyright owners have to forego protection because they cannot afford attorney fees. The attorneys at LeJune Law Firm understand the importance of protecting your work and have worked with clients on a contingency basis. Contact the LeJune Law Firm online or at 713-489-6476 to discuss copyright protection of your work.
How Do I Know if I Need a Copyright, a Trademark or a Patent?
Copyrights, trademarks and patents are all part of intellectual property law. They differ by the type of works they protect. A copyright protects an original work by an author, a patent protects an invention, idea or discovery, and a trademark protects words, symbols, phrases or a combination that distinguishes a good or service from someone else’s good or service. An intellectual property attorney can help you determine which protection you may need.
What is copyright?
A copyright is a proof of ownership over something artistic that you created. You can seek copyright protection for a painting, a song, a book, a picture, poetry, a sculpture, software, a sound recording or an architectural work. Having copyright protection means that no one else can reproduce it, make a derivative work, distribute a copy of your work, perform your work or display your work publicly. A copyright lasts for the duration of the author’s life plus 70 years.
Trademark law has two requirements for people seeking to obtain a trademark. First, the mark has to be used in commerce or the owner has to have intent to use it in commerce. Second, the mark has to be distinct, meaning that it is not similar to an existing mark for a similar product or service. The mark also cannot be generic, meaning that you will most likely not be able to get a trademark on a commonly used word or phrase. A trademark can be renewed forever, as long as it is being used in commerce.
A patent is a right an inventor has to exclude others from “making, using, offering for sale, or selling” their invention. An invention includes a product or a process that does something new. Patents differ from other intellectual property because patent protection only lasts for 20 years.
License Your Intellectual Property
You can allow others to use your works through a license agreement. Such an agreement can be tailored to limit how your work can be used. In exchange for the use of your intellectual property, you can collect a fee, commonly called a royalty. An intellectual property attorney can help you negotiate and execute a license agreement that protects your rights and gets you the maximum value for the use of your intellectual property.
We know how to protect your rights
If someone is using your work without your permission, a copyright infringement attorney can help enforce your rights. Contact the LeJune Law Firm online or at 713-489-6476 to discuss the protection of your work and your options for pursuing legal action against an infringer.