Copyright law in the United States is commonly misunderstood. Many content creators assume they automatically have copyright protection for their creative works. This is partially true, but establishing formal copyright protection on any creative work is the best way to prevent others from misusing or exploiting it. Unfortunately, some creators may be unaware of their copyright protections, how to navigate the copyright application and registration processes, or what a formally established copyright does for them. An Orange County copyright applications & registration attorney can provide the legal guidance any content creator needs to protect their works from exploitation.
The attorneys at Blake & Ayaz provide comprehensive legal representation for copyright applications and registrations to our clients throughout Orange County, CA. Navigating the requirements of establishing any copyright can be more complicated than many creators realize at first. Our team aims to help our clients navigate the application and registration process with clarity and confidence.
Protecting your intellectual property is crucial if you intend to commercialize it in any way. Many content creators, including writers, visual artists, musicians, and others, create copyrighted works as their primary form of income. Protecting these works is crucial for them to maintain their livelihoods. Without copyright protection, virtually anyone can misuse or exploit a creative work, claiming it as their own or simply denying the creator their appropriate dues.
If you intend to file a copyright application with the United States Copyright Office, the application itself is seemingly simple. However, it’s crucial to complete the application correctly as even minor errors could lead to invalidation of the copyright later. Once an application has been completed and submitted, the US Copyright Office will begin the registration process, providing the applicant with the appropriate legal protections for their copyrighted work.
Having an experienced Orange County copyright attorney assist you with your copyright application process will streamline the process of registering your copyright and eliminate the possibility of application errors interfering with the process. In addition, Blake & Ayaz can help you complete your copyright application correctly and assist you in securing the copyright protection you need for your intellectual property.
If you are unsure whether you need to register a copyright on a created work, it’s first necessary to determine if the work is eligible for copyright protection in the US. Typically, copyright protection is intended for creative works such as:
Copyright protection is granted to both physically created works and digital works published on the internet.
It’s crucial to know what is eligible for copyright protection in the US, but it’s also important to know what can’t be registered under copyright. Some things that are ineligible for copyright protection include website domain names, slogans, titles, names, concepts, systems, and work methods. It may be possible to secure different types of protection, such as patents for some of these things, but copyright protection is typically reserved solely for creative works.
It is also essential to understand how US copyright law views “work made for hire,” such as commission-based creative works. For example, if you are a writer who produces content for an employer under a contract, the creative works you produce would belong to your employer per the terms of your contract. However, to qualify as “work made for hire,” the work must meet three conditions:
These criteria typically apply to employer-employee relationships but not independent contractors unless the contract specifically stipulates that the contractor’s created works are work made for hire. Some employers who work with independent contractors may issue copyright assignment agreements that expressly grant copyright ownership to the employer.
When a creator completes any copyright-eligible work, they automatically assume a basic level of copyright protection for that work. As soon as a creative work is fixed to any tangible medium, the creator has the copyright on that work. However, formally applying for a copyright and registering the copyright provide a solid layer of legal protection for the creator and various benefits should an intellectual property dispute arise. Although it is not technically required, the creator should also include a copyright notice with their creative work. This will eliminate the possibility of “accidental infringement” or someone misusing the copyrighted work unknowingly.
A formally registered copyright also provides legal standing for the copyright owner to pursue damages against any party that misuses or infringes upon their copyrighted work. For example, if another party attempts to capitalize on your copyrighted property, simply sending a cease-and-desist letter informing them of your copyright protection can be enough to put a stop to their behavior. Copyright registration is also a legal requirement for any content creator who intends to file a copyright infringement lawsuit in federal court, and registering a copyright within three months of the creation of the work can allow the creator to secure more damages than they could otherwise, including statutory damages of up to $150,000 per instance of infringement. Timely copyright registration effectively eliminates the need to prove actual damages in an infringement case.
Creators should take formal legal steps to protect their intellectual property. An Orange County copyright lawyer can be your best asset when you want to ensure the highest levels of legal protection on your creative works. Blake & Ayaz can provide the legal guidance you need to navigate your copyright application and registration processes with confidence. We can also assist you with legal counsel for a future intellectual property dispute regarding your copyrighted work. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out how an Orange County copyright attorney can assist you.