If you’ve poured your heart and soul into creating an artistic piece of work, you need to protect your ideas. Working with an intellectual property attorney is your first step in protecting your hard-earned and fought for work.
Copyright and Rights Related to Copyright
Copyright protection covers literary works (such as novels or plays), films, music, artistic works (such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures) and architectural design. Copyright law protects authors, artists, and other creators when it comes to their literary and artistic creations that are commonly referred to as “works”. Works covered by copyright include, but are not limited to: novels, poems, plays, reference works, newspapers, advertisements, computer programs, databases, films, musical compositions, choreography, paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architecture, maps and technical drawings.
In addition to copyright rights, there are also Rights Related to Copyright. Such “related” items include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms (such as records) in their recordings, and broadcasters in their radio and television programs. Beneficiaries of related rights include performers (such as actors and musicians) in their performances; producers of phonograms (for example, compact discs) in their sound recordings; and broadcasters and broadcasting organizations in their radio and television programs.
“Right Holders,” which is a name given to the creators, heirs, and successors of works that are protected under copyright law. These holders retain the exclusive right to use or authorize other people to use the work. This is typically authorized in regards to agreed to terms. The right holder or holders of a work can either authorize or prohibit the work that is protected. Authorization or barring of use will extend to all forms of reproduction, including print form, sounds recording, public performance, translation, and adaptation. Essentially, the rights cover any form of communication to the public.
Many types of works that fall under copyright protection and any related rights typically require mass distribution, communication and financial investment for their successful dissemination. This is due to the nature of the works that are protected – for example, sound recordings and films. Due to this, creators and right holders will often transfer rights to companies that are better suited to develop and market the works. This is done in return for compensation in the form of payments and/or royalties. Royalties are compensation based on a percentage of revenues generated by the work. An example of this can be seen in major motion pictures, where one studio will create the film, but another company will handle the distribution of the film.
Duration of Protection
The duration of protection varies for each form of work protected under copyright law. Economic rights related to copyright are of limited duration according to any relevant World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties. Protection begins with the creation and fixation of the work, and lasts for not less than 50 years after the creator’s death. National laws vary and may establish longer terms of protection. This standard term of protection – of not less than 50 years – enables both creators and their heirs and successors to benefit financially for a reasonable period of time after the work has been created.
Works protected under related rights typically have shorter terms. The standard protection lasts for 50 years after the performance, recording, or initial broadcast takes place. Moral rights and the protection of performers are also protected under copyright. These are the right to claim authorship of a work, and the right to oppose changes to the work that could potentially harm the creator’s reputation.
Enforcement of Copyright and Related Rights
There are a number of ways for copyright and related rights to be enforced by right holders. Such means include civil action suits, administrative remedies and criminal prosecution. Injunctions, orders requiring destruction of infringing items, inspection orders, among others legal actions are used to enforce these rights.
Benefits of Protection
Copyright and related rights protection and laws are in place as way foster human creativity and innovation. Through this form of protection, artists, authors, and all other forms of creators are provided a form of recognition and fair economic reward for the pieces they develop, design, and build into fruition.
Copyright laws and the enforcement of such laws allows individuals and companies to more easily invest in the development, production, and global dissemination of their works, and thus increases culture, knowledge, and entertainment the world over, while also stimulating economic and social development.
Immediate Copyright Protection
If you have an original idea, such as a screenplay or piece of music, that you’ve written created your work is automatically protected under copyright. Copyright protection is immediately extended once the piece of work is set into tangible form. This means that once the piece is accomplished, you alone have the sole right to produce and reproduce your work.
Protection Against Infringement
In the U.S., there is no requirement to register your work, but there are innumerable advantages to registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office. Registration of your work allows you to establish a public record of your copyright. This is crucial when you choose to disseminate your creation to the world and will help protect you against any potential infringement claims.
If infringement occurs, it is up to you to enforce your copyright. Even if the piece has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, government agencies are hands-off after registration. To guard against disputes over authorship, we advise that you always retain early drafts of your work and detailed records of the development of your ideas, including anyone you’ve shared it with along the way.
Copyright law provides the legal right to exclude others from copying, selling, performing, displaying, or making a derivative version of your “original work of authorship” – including both published and unpublished literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works as well as computer software and websites.
The copyright registration process differs according to the type of material produced, but always involves sending a copy of your work and a processing fee. Typically, you will submit a copy of your work which you will not receive back. The work will then be made public. Your certificate of copyright protection will be mailed to you and timing varies depending on the work submitted.
The skilled attorneys at Reilly Intellectual Property Law Firm will help you prepare and submit your work for copyright protection and will help protect you against any possible infringement claims.
Reilly Intellectual Property Law Firm
Reilly Intellectual Property Law Firm provides patent services to protect the inventions that change and shape our world. We handle handles patents, trademarks, copyrights and licensing legal services in Denver. Our experienced attorneys provide strategic guidance, patent counseling and prosecution, new product clearance and licensing, as well as counsel regarding patent enforcement and how to avoid possible infringement issues.
Our patent attorneys actively and aggressively represent plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of proceedings before courts both domestically and internationally. We provide solutions that anticipate our client’s need to protect their intellectual property so that their business thrives. We would love to work with you to develop a dynamic strategy that addresses your patent, trademark, copyright, and licensing concerns.