An author's copyright arises naturally from the act of creating an original work of artistic expression that is fixed in a tangible form. Though others may independently create similar works, a copyright prevents unauthorized copying of an author's original work. Registering your work can provide benefits if it should be copied without your authorization.
Even though copyright protection arises automatically from creation of an original work of artistic expression, timely registration conveys a number of benefits. For one, registration is required before and infringement suit may commence. In addition, if a copyright is not registered within three months of publication or before infringement occurs, statutory damages and attorneys fees are not available in infringement suits. Also, registrations obtained within five years of a work's publication evidence the validty of a copyright over such work. Lastly, as a practical matter, registration allows a work to be recorded with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to prevent infringing or counterfeit copies from entering the United States.
Copyright protects various categories of works, including literary works; musical works; dramatic works; pantomimes and choreographic works; pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works; sound recordings; and architectural works. Copyrightable works also must meet a minimum standard of artistic expression. For this reason, works that consist merely of titles; names; short phrases and slogans; or basic shapes, symbols, or designs will typically not be eligible for registration.
Though transferrable, ownership of the copyright in a newly created work is vested in the author of the work. It is important for employers to note that any works they commission from others should be commissioned as a work made for hire. With a work made for hire, the employer and not the employee is considered to be the author. Any work made for hire agreement must be made in writing. Without such an agreement, the employee and not the employer may hold the copyright in a commissioned work.
In seeking a copyright registration, our business is to advise authors on the benefits as well as the limitations of copyrights, to gather the information necessary to accurately make a registration, and to advise authors on any potential pitfalls or risks. We also assist in developing strategies to protect portfolios comprising multiple works.
Should you desire to license or sell your work, we also negotiate and prepare copyright assignment and licensing agreements drafted to your particular needs.