When you make an artistic expression on a tangible form, it is always a good idea to ensure it has the proper protections of the U.S. government in the form of a copyright registration. This applies whether you wish to commercialize the work or not.

Copyright is a form of intellectual property protection that provides recourse if your artistic work is stolen or used without permission. Whether you are a novice blogger, a published author, or you have a screenplay in the works, a Delray Beach copyright lawyer knows the steps you must take to keep your work safe.

Copyrights for Unique, Creative Expression

Inventions are patented and business logos are trademarked to protect them from piracy. When a unique creative work needs protection, it is copyrighted with the U.S. Copyright Office. Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are known as intellectual property, and copyright infringement happens when someone else uses an artistic creation to profit or take credit for it, leaving the creator out of the picture. To sue for copyright infringement, artists must register their work, pursuant to 17 U.S. Code § 412. Copyrights protect more than songs and short story collections, they can also cover:

  • All published works: fiction, non-fiction, journalism, poetry, research papers, and songs
  • Bloggers’ posts
  • Screenplays for movies and live theater
  • Commercial art
  • Architectural drawings
  • Computer programs

Creators can profit from their copyrighted work by issuing copies and selling them, displaying their work in a venue of their choosing, performing or recording their work, licensing it, and authorizing parts of it for advertising purposes.

For example: a movie poster might be drawn from a still that is part of the film; a movie studio purchases the rights to a novel with the idea of making it into a film; songwriters collect royalties when other artists record their songs.

A Delray Beach copyright attorney can register a unique artistic expression, negotiate license and royalty agreements, and litigate in federal court if the work is pirated.

Unique Artistic Expression

Copyrights protect unique artistic expressions, but they must manifest into something consumers can see or hear, they do not necessarily protect the ideas behind them. A novelist cannot copyright their idea for a book, they can only copyright the finished product.

The concept of uniqueness could also be interpreted differently by copyright examiners and sometimes the court. A piece of art depicting various basic shapes does not prevent another artist from using those shapes in their own work. A business, however, cannot make an exact duplicate of that specific painting and use it to make a profit without getting permission.

Copyright Expirations

Artistic expressions copyrighted after January 1, 1978, are protected for 70 years after the artist passes away. Works created under a pseudonym or for an employer are copyright protected for 95 years after publication or 120 years after it was created, whichever date is earlier. While someone looking to protect their art does not necessarily have to worry about expiration dates, it may be a good idea to talk to a copyright law attorney in Delray Beach to discuss using older works that have reached or are about to reach their expiration date.

Learn How a Delray Beach Copyright Attorney Safeguards Your Creative Work

Like anything you own, you should be able to decide what to do with it, including profiting by selling it, or sharing it for others to admire. Writers, filmmakers, singers, painters, and others in the creative or entertainment fields need to know their rights and how to enforce them.

Nobody should be allowed to take part of your intellectual property and profit from it without permission. We can register your copyright to protect your stories, songs, art, and even software programs from infringement. If someone does infringe, we can litigate to get you justly compensated. Call a Delray Beach copyright lawyer now and we will explain the next steps in the process.