When you create an original work of art, music, literature, and more, you want to protect it from others who might copy or plagiarize it. Until you register your ownership, fighting infringement could be difficult.

Copyright, trademark, and patent laws protect different facets of creative works. Our experienced intellectual property attorneys help you register for all of them so you can act if someone infringes on it. When you have created, composed, or authored an original work, a Fort Lauderdale copyright lawyer could help you protect it.

What Ownership Rights Arise from a Copyright?

Copyright protects forms of creative expression, such as books, songs, scripts, films, poems, essays, and short stories. This also includes paintings, drawings, photographs, and even computer software. Copyright protection means giving owners the exclusive right to:

  • Reproduce the work by making copies of art and literature, or recordings of songs
  • Authorize and control derivative works, which are other works based on pre-existing copyrighted material, such as a movie adaptation of a novel
  • Distribute copies of the work by selling, lending, renting, licensing, or transferring ownership of the copyright
  • Display the work for the public, such as gallery exhibitions
  • Perform the work, such as concerts, theatrical plays, and movies

Copyright protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself. A photograph of a vase of flowers can be copyrighted, but the idea of a vase of flowers cannot. Creators interested in protecting their work should consult a Fort Lauderdale copyright lawyer for help.

Exceptions to Copyright Ownership

Creators generally own the work that they copyright, but there are a few exceptions. When a creator is employed to create artistic work, and that work is done within the scope of employment, the employer generally owns the copyright.

Commissioned work that is limited in scope, such as a celebrity autobiography written by a ghostwriter, is owned by the party that commissions it. However, the parties must sign a contract to that effect. Copyright owners may also contract to assign their rights to a third party. Business owners who are unsure if they have the right to use copyrighted work they purchased or commissioned should consult a Fort Lauderdale copyright attorney for guidance.

Copyright Infringement

If a party violates any of the exclusive rights creators have over their copyrighted works, the violation is an infringement. Examples include using a well-known song during a political campaign without the copyright owner’s consent, producing a movie based on a novel without permission, or recording a song that too closely resembles another.

Infringement cases are heard in federal court, where plaintiffs may seek injunctive relief and monetary damages, as well as attorney’s fees. A copyright lawyer could represent either the person who wants to prove their copyright was violated or the person accused of copyright infringement.

Speak With a Fort Lauderdale Copyright Attorney to Safeguard Your Artistic Work

Visual, musical, and literary creations bring joy to nearly everyone. It might be a song you cannot stop humming, or a painting or novel that moved you. All these expressions are copyright protected and their owners have unique rights to control them.

When you have expressed an idea in a way only you could, through art, literature, music, computer innovation, or architecture, you gain better control over your work if it is copyrighted. Contact a Fort Lauderdale copyright lawyer from the Lomnitzer Law Firm for help registering your creation with the United States Copyright Office today so it is protected in federal court if someone else tries to copy it.