Fort Lauderdale Copyright Lawyer
A copyright extends different protections than either a patent or a trademark. While patents protect inventions or discoveries, and trademarks protect designs or symbols identifying a particular good or service, copyrights protect original works of authorship. Copyright law stems from the U.S. Constitution and is regulated by the U.S. Copyright Office.
What is a copyright?
A copyright protects original works of authorship. An original work of authorship eligible for copyright protection could be literary, dramatic, musical or artistic. Examples of original works include novels, poetry, songs, movies, computer software and architecture. While a copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems or methods of operation, it can protect the way that these facts, ideas, systems and methods of operation are expressed. Copyright protection is not available until the work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression, such as a recording or a paperback book. In other words, if you have an idea for a song or a novel in your head, that is not sufficient – the work must be tangible.
Do I have to register my work in order to have copyright protection?
You do not have to register an original work in order to have a copyright. Rather, the copyright exists when the work is created and fixed in a tangible form. However, you cannot bring a lawsuit for infringement without a registered copyright. A preemptive registration might prevent your work from being infringed in the first place. Not only does registration ensure that the existence of your copyright is in the public record, but if completed within five years after publication, your registration certificate is considered prima facie evidence (accepted as fact unless proven otherwise) in a court of law.
Note that the United States has copyright agreements with most countries, which means copyrights will be honored almost everywhere in the world.
How long does a copyright last?
The life of a copyright depends on the particular work, the date of publication and other related factors. Generally, the copyright endures for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. If the work is anonymous, the copyright exists for 95 years from the year of its first publication or for 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever time period expires first. You do not have to renew your copyright. The copyright endures for a lifetime – and then some.
How do I register my copyright?
To register your copyright, you have to submit an application and pay a nonrefundable $35 fee to the U.S. Copyright Office. A copy or copies of your works must be included with the application. Keep in mind that these copies will not be returned to you. Also be aware that when you file a copyright application, your personal information becomes a part of public record
The length of the registration process depends on how many copyright applications the Office is already considering at the time of your submission.
I am an experienced copyright attorney who can help you register and enforce your copyrighted works. Contact me today at (954) 812-0660.