What can be copyrighted?
Original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression are protected by United States copyright law.
Do I need register my work with the U.S. Copyright Office to have a copyright?
No. Copyrights do not depend on registration, though there are important reasons to register your copyrights. Your copyrights come into existence as soon as the original work of authorship is fixed in a tangible medium of expression. However, you cannot file an infringement lawsuit in federal court without having a copyright registration.
Why else should I register my work with the U.S. Copyright Office?
While you have a copyright as soon as the original work of authorship is fixed in a tangible medium of expression (e.g., song is recorded, photograph is taken, book is written), you must generally register the copyrighted work before infringement takes place in order to be eligible for statutory damages awards and attorneys fees. Otherwise, damages may be difficult to prove depending on the situation.
Somebody is infringing my copyright, but they say that it is “fair use” and there is nothing I can do about it. Is that correct?
Many people have a fundamental misunderstanding of what constitutes “fair use,” which is a defense against copyright infringement that involves a balancing of various factors to determine if it applies. While copyright attorneys can analyze the viability of a “fair use” defense based on an independent analysis of those factors in view of cases that have addressed the defense, the only way to know for sure that a “fair use” defense is available and applicable is for a court to decide that it is. Although many people claim a “fair use” defense, they are operating under the mistaken belief that if something is on the internet, they can infringe it (i.e., “it’s fair use.”). They are wrong.
What exclusive rights do I have in my copyrighted work?
You have the right to reproduce the work, to prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work, to distribute copies of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, and to display the copyrighted work publicly. If another person is doing any of these things with your copyrighted work without your permission, they are probably infringing your copyright.
How do I know if someone is infringing my copyright and what I can do about it?
Copyright is a complex area of the law, and only experienced copyright attorneys can properly evaluate the facts and law of your particular case and provide you with options. Call the attorneys of RegitzMauck, and we will be happy to discuss your case with you.
My copyrighted work has been infringed, but I can’t afford to pay legal fees. Can RegitzMauck help me?
RegitzMauck offers its clients a range of fee options, including hourly billing arrangements, flat fees, and in certain situations, contingency fee agreements, especially when the client registered the copyrighted work prior to the infringement at issue. Depending on the situation, contingency fee clients may or may not be responsible for court costs and other expenses.
Why You Need The Copyright Infringement Lawyers at RegitzMauck
Do not let others profit from your original works of authorship. If your photographs, music, written works, or videos have been copied or reproduced, RegitzMauck is here to help. With over three decades of experience in intellectual property disputes, Mike Regitz and Dustin Mauck stand ready to take on infringers of your copyrighted work. Contact RegitzMauck today.