Since the advent of the printing press, creative work has been copied and circulated, and it has also been protected in the United States since its founding. If you write songs or poems, paint pictures, or have a novel in the works on your computer, you want to protect what you create. If someone pirates it, a skilled IP attorney could help you hold them accountable.

While music and literature have been infringed on for centuries and continue to be, a more recent development involves online service providers that either passively or overtly publish copyrighted work. When you are looking for assistance protecting your creative output, a Deerfield Beach copyright lawyer could register it and defend it from illegal use.

The Three Branches of Intellectual Property

People have the right to own what they purchase or create, and these creations are protected from theft under three branches of intellectual property: patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Patents protect useful inventions, trademarks protect a business’s logos, slogans, and trade names, and copyrights protect creative expression on a tangible form, such as:

  • The written word; books, poems, stories, journalism, blogs, ad copy
  • Movies and plays
  • Music, both lyrics and note and chord progression
  • Paintings, drawings, photographs, illustrations
  • Computer programs
  • Architecture

Creators must register their work with the U.S. Copyright Office, or else they cannot sue for infringement, according to 17 U.S. Code § 412. Creators should consult with a Deerfield Beach copyright attorney to register their work.

Benefits of a Copyright

Once work is copyrighted, creators have the options to reproduce, distribute, display, and perform their work. They can charge admittance or sell copies of their paintings or books. They can also license their work to others or allow it to appear in another form, such as a movie based on a book. Many copyrighted images are licensed to appear on clothing or home goods and songwriters can collect royalties when a singer records their songs. Creators can also transfer ownership of their copyrights in an outright sale.

The C Symbol

Once a creative work is registered, the creator can prominently display the © symbol or the word “Copyright” on the artistic work’s copyright page. If another person wishes to excerpt sections of the novel, the author must approve.

Copyrights and Online Service Providers

Creators sometimes find unauthorized reproductions of their work on websites hosted by online service providers (OSP). The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 provides OSPs four safe harbors as protection against being sued for infringement. Under 17 United States Code § 512, safe harbors are transitory digital network communications, content hosting, system caching, and information location tools. Creators who find their work online but are unsure if an OSP is protected from infringement should contact a Deerfield Beach copyright attorney for guidance on their next move.

The Life of a Copyright

Work created after January 1, 1978, retains its copyright for 70 years past the author’s death. Creative work before 1978 that appeared under a pseudonym or when the artist was hired to create it retains copyright until 120 years from the date of creation or 95 years from the first publication date, whichever occurs first.

Learn How a Deerfield Beach Copyright Attorney Protects Your Creative Work

It is vitally important to protect your creative expressions from others who would use it for their own benefit. We can register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, and if it is infringed upon, we take immediate action to halt the infringement or move to demand damages.

You are part of long history of creativity with your stories, pictures, paintings, songs, or screenplays. Protecting your creation is essential. Call us now at the Lomnitzer Law Firm to learn how a Deerfield Beach copyright lawyer can safeguard your work and craft a necessary response when infringement occurs.