Understanding your rights and protection under United States copyright law is critical to your success as a creative professional. Whether you’re composing jingles or creating new smartphone apps, copyright laws protect your intellectual property. The ideas you create are protected under law from being copied and stolen from someone else. Many people and businesses may still try to profit from your work, but copyright law provides some protection and form of legal recourse.
Professionals in any creative area, whether it’s architects or songwriters, should consider retaining the help of an experienced copyright law attorney or law firm. At Livingston & Loeffler, we can take steps to protect your copyrighted materials and your creative source of income from unscrupulous people or businesses. Whether you need help registering your creative work or enforcing a copyright against an outside company, Livingston & Loeffler, with a location right here in Miami, can help you.
You Invest a Lot in the Creative Process
When you create something new, it requires hours of devotion. The product of all of your research and creativity becomes your intellectual property. Regardless of whether you’re making a tip calculator app or writing a short story, you deserve compensation for the distribution or sale of what you created. For many creative professionals, copyright law is the only thing truly protecting them from overt theft and plagiarization. Unless you take steps to enforce and protect your copyright, other people could profit from your hard work without any compensation or royalties to you, the creator. This not only is true for Copyrights, but you also have the right to protecting your trade secrets, patent protection, and any type of trademarks you may have on your work.
Copyright protects your authorship, your creation of this new idea. It’s relatively thorough protection, too. You don’t have to file with any government office to receive copyright protection of a creative product. Of course, copyright registration is recommended as a means of proving the creation of your product. As soon as your creation is completed and fixed in tangible form, it is protected under copyright laws. Tangible form can mean making a novel or software package available for download by purchasers online or it could mean creating a physical piece of art.
The Internet Has Made Copyright Infringement Too Easy
It’s not uncommon for self-published authors to find their works re-published under a different author’s name. Plagiarists will change names, locations and titles while essentially stealing an entire text. Photographers and other visual artists experience similar issues. Websites will use images without credit. Some companies even print unlicensed t-shirts that the artists know nothing about. Even if you only display your images online with a watermark, talented digital editors can crop out or remove a watermark. It can be disheartening to have your work stolen and used for profit by someone else.
Working with an experienced copyright attorney is your best option if something like this has happened to you. The copyright lawyers at Livingston & Loeffler can review your circumstances and help determine what your options are. In some cases, a cease and desist letter can prevent someone from using your work with credit or payment again. If the company or individual has already profited from your work, you may have to file a civil lawsuit to recover those profits. An experienced copyright law firm, like Livingston & Loeffler, can help you gather evidence and hold them financially accountable.
Registering a Copyright In Miami Is Generally Good Practice
The best way to ensure you can assert your copyright is to register your created work as soon as it is finished. Doing so ensures you can take immediate legal action when necessary. If you haven’t filed for a copyright but are dealing with a copyright violation, you must register your work. Doing so creates a public record of your copyright, which can make any necessary litigation that much simpler for you, the creator.
Although there is paperwork and financial expense involved, registering a new work of art makes future copyright enforcement more straightforward. The easiest way to have the process handled is by working with a copyright attorney who understands how to register your original creation. Doing so ensures your copyright is protected and of public record and ensures you won’t make any mistakes in the process that could cause issues for you at a later date.
Creative Professionals Need Good Copyright Protection
Sometimes, things that seem to be an abuse of copyright protections may actually be considered “fair use.” Consulting with an attorney before taking any legal action is always the best decision. Your attorney can help ensure you understand your rights, as well as the limits of the protections of copyright law.