Unlike patents, copyright interests exist without the need for formal registration. Per statute, copyrigh-protectable subject matter includes original works of authorship which are fixed in a tangible medium of expression. The exclusive rights belonging to the owner of such a work includes the rights to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, create derivative works thereof, and, where applicable, the rights to claims and protect authorship and to prevent the distortion of the work. A violation of these exclusive rights is infringement.
Enforcement of copyright interests (i.e., actual copyright protection) generally requires that the work at issue be registered (or in the process of becoming registered) with the United States Copyright Office. Unlike the USPTO, the Copyright Office is mostly a repository and there is no copyright prosecution process to complete. Further, it is prudent for copyright owners to register their works with the Copyright Office within three months of the works’ first publication in order for the owner to take advantage of the Copyright Act’s statutory remedies should litigation ever ensue.
We have assisted artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, web developers, and business with identifying copyrightable assets, acquiring registrations for those assets, enforcing those copyright interests, and advising on the prudence of certain creative efforts in light of preexisting content and the Copyright Act’s Fair Use exceptions to infringement.