Identifying and Protecting Copyrighted Works

Posted by Barry L. BrewingtonMay 15, 20230 Comments

Even if your business does not make its money in the creative space, you should be aware of copyrights and the protections offered for this type of intellectual property. According to federal law, copyrighted work is any original, creative work that has been affixed in a tangible medium. Your favorite movies, books, songs, and paintings are copyrighted works. 

The copyright owner is usually the creator of the work, although there are some exceptions. A common exception is someone who produces copyrighted work under their duties as an employee or independent contractor.

As the owner of a copyright, you have the exclusive right to sell copies of the work, display or perform the work in public, and produce works that are derivative of the source material. Many people who make money off of copyrights allow others to distribute the work through an arrangement called licensing. 

Registering Your Copyright(s)

Although your original creative work is copyrighted as soon as you create it (in some type of fixed form), you must formally register the copyright to receive strong protections. The U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) handles requests for copyright protections. NC Legal Docs offers an innovative way to apply for copyrights of literary works, performing arts, sound recordings, visual arts, and more.

The most important reason for copyright owners to register their works with the USCO? The right to sue another person or entity for copyright infringement. If someone else is using your copyrighted work in an unauthorized way, you generally have the obligation to protect your work by compelling the other user to stop. However, the actions you can take to stop the copyright infringement are limited if your copyright is not registered.

A copyright owner may always send a cease-and-desist letter, but such a notice may appear toothless to the infringer without a credible threat of litigation. For that and many other reasons, it is always best to apply for copyright registration with the USCO. 

Furthermore, it's best to register your copyright as soon as possible. If someone infringes on your unregistered copyright more than three months after the copyrighted work was created, you will have a more difficult time recovering statutory damages in court. Many times, going to court for copyright infringement without any chance of getting statutory damages is cost-prohibitive—regardless of the case's overall merits.

In summation, prompt registration of your copyrighted works makes it easier for you to ward off infringement. Strong protections for your copyrights can ensure your business interests are secured and positioned to make profits.

Protect Your Copyrights Under the Guidance of Experienced IP Lawyers

NC Legal Docs allows clients to begin many types of legal documents on their own time. The owner of a copyrighted work, for example, often has much of the information they need to fill out a registration application with the USCO. Our attorneys only step in when needed, providing you with an economical method of securing your intellectual property. Additionally, the forms offered on our website are written by our attorneys. 

Have questions? We'd love to answer them. Get in touch with our team here or by calling (704) 492-2588.