Frequently Asked Questions

Note: This information is not intended as legal advice, as every case is different.  Contact our copyright attorneys today to discuss the specifics of your case.

We receive a large number of questions about Copyright Law.  Below we identify some of the more common questions asked.

 

What is a Copyright?

A copyright is a protection granted by the law to protect the creator of original works of authorship.  Examples include paintings, photographs, writings and more.

 

Does My Work Need to be Published to Have Copyright Protection?

Both published and unpublished works can have copyright protection.

 

Can I Copyright My Name or Invention?

No, copyright is for original works of authorship.  Trademark laws may be used to protect a brand name, and Patent laws may be used to protect inventions.

 

Do I Have to Register My Work with the Copyright Office to Protect It?

No, your rights attach the moment the work is created. However, filing a federal copyright registration can strengthen your ability to prove your claim to authorship, and can give you the right to claim statutory damages.

 

Who is the Author of a Work?

The creator of the original expression is the author of the work.  That creator owns the copyright, unless he or she assigns it to another party, such as a television or newspaper publisher.  If it is a “work made for hire” the employer or party hiring the creator is considered to be the author.

 

Do I Need to Use a Copyright Notice on My Work?

This is not required to protect your copyright.  However, many people choose to use it, reminding the public that the work is subject to copyright protection and enforcement.

 

What is Protected by Copyright?

In general, a copyright can protect original works including photographs, paintings, music, songs, writings and other creative works.  You should consult with a copyright attorney to determine if your particular work qualifies for copyright protection.

 

How Do I Register My Copyright?

There is an application process to submit the copyright, along with materials and fees on the U.S. copyright website.  The process can be found here, the application is found here, and the fees are discussed here.

 

For additional questions about copyright, please refer to copyright.gov

If you would like to discuss any transactions in which you are engaged or registration of your copyright, please contact our attorneys today.  Our copyright lawyers have the experience to help you, and navigate the difficult waters of copyright registration.