If you have produced a unique work then you do not want it to be reproduced by someone else or attributed to someone else. But what happens if it is? Then it may be that your copyright has been infringed on. Read on more to learn about this type of case and then contact Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 if you are in need of a free consultation with a California business attorney.
Not all works are covered by copyright law
One of the first things that must be decided when looking to see if your copyright has been infringed on is what type of work it was and if it was covered. In this country, copyright laws cover works that are literary, musical, or audio-visual. These laws also cover motion pictures and choreography. More recent changes to the law have added engineering designs, architectural works, and software codes to the list of protected works.
Once you have established that your work is in one of the above categories you then have to prove that it was fixed or tangible. This means that it must have been preserved in some form that could have been reproduced.
Some of the most common types of work that are not copyrightable but people often believe are include typography, processes, public domain works, contents lists, procedures, and common property like charts and calendars. If you have a name or slogan that is being used illegally, that may be covered by trademark law but not copyright law. As you can see, the rules around these laws can be confusing. Reach out to an attorney for answers to your specific questions.
Has the work been registered?
Many people know that common law gives copyright as soon as a work is published. While this is true, it is also true that common copyright law doesn’t provide the protection you need. For that, you will need to have the copyright federally registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. If you want to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement – and seek damages for said infringement – then you will need to ensure that there is a federal registration on file. Once again, we can help with that.
Fair use could affect your copyright claim
Just because you have a work that was copyrighted and someone else used it does not meant that your copyright was infringed. For example, fair use can allow another person to a character non-commercially, if it is changed enough, if it does not affect your original, and in other cases. Fair use can allow someone to use your work with attribution and without payment.
The truth is that fair use is confusing and can often cause serious issues for a person who has worked hard on their own work. If you have questions about copyright law or need assistance from a business attorney then we urge you to contact Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 for a free legal consultation.