The Benefits Of A Copyright Lawyer
In 2021, the U.S. Copyright Office issued over 400,000 registrations, collecting more than $34 million in registration application fees. Copyright ensures creators’ rights over their own intellectual property, protecting their work from uncredited or unlicensed use. Many kinds of ideas and works can fall under copyright, including designs, and artwork. Understanding copyright and the process required to register for copyright can be difficult. An experienced copyright lawyer may be able to assist. If you have questions about copyright and registering intellectual property, consider reaching out to the copyright lawyers at War IP Law, PLLC at (202) 800-3754 today for a consultation.
What Are the Benefits of Copyright?
Copyright is relevant to many kinds of creative work, ranging from paintings, sculptures, photographs, and books to software codes, logo designs, and website designs. While copyright is automatically placed on original pieces of work, there are many benefits to registering one’s copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, a process that a copyright lawyer may be able to assist with. These benefits include:
- A public ownership record. This is key to copyright lawsuits, because copyright owners must prove they are the owners of the property to win a copyright infringement dispute. A public record can also help deter potential copyright infringers.
- Timely filing of lawsuits. Copyright registration is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit. To file a lawsuit for copyright infringement, the copyright must be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. The U.S. Copyright Office may take several months to over a year to process a copyright application. If the copyright is not registered, this can significantly delay filing a lawsuit. Creators can request an expedited process in cases where the copyright is being infringed upon, but this option can be costly.
- Eligibility for damages. If copyrights were registered before any cases of infringement or within three months following the work’s publication, then the copyright owner can pursue statutory damages and recover a certain amount for each work that is infringed upon. The owner may also be able to recover attorney fees from the infringer.
What Does a Copyright Lawyer Do?
A copyright lawyer can play an important role in supporting creators’ rights over their works. Copyright lawyers can both advise creators through the registration process and assist with filing lawsuits and representing creators if their works are infringed upon. Some of the roles and responsibilities of a copyright lawyer may include:
- Assisting with filing necessary forms for registration and advising on other steps the creator may wish to take to protect his or her rights as an owner.
- Managing lawsuits against infringement by interviewing witnesses, reviewing legal documents, and overseeing counsels.
- Managing key legal documents such as shareholder agreements, trademark registration, and incorporation articles.
- Supporting clients in preparing for court proceedings, including executing and recording arguments for court.
- Assisting clients with negotiating licensing agreements and drafting other key documents.
Finding the right copyright lawyer matters. The Copyright Alliance points out the importance of hiring an attorney who has relevant expertise and who is a fit for your needs. If you have questions about what a copyright lawyer does, how to find one who is the right fit, or how one can support you, consider reaching out to War IP Law, PLLC.
What Are the Rights of a Copyright Holder?
Copyright holders have certain exclusive rights. These include:
- The right to reproduce the work. Copyright owners maintain control over making copies of the work. Examples of infringement on this right could include uploading movies or music to a website or copying a program onto a computer.
- The right to create new versions or adaptations of the work. Copyright owners maintain control over any transformation of their works into something new, such as a film sequel or the translation of a novel.
- The right to distribute the copyrighted work. Copyright owners maintain control over when and through what medium their work is distributed. Examples of infringement on this right could include renting out software or sound recordings or posting the manuscript of a novel online without the author’s permission.
- The right to publicly perform the work. Copyright owners maintain control of when their work is presented in public. Public readings of books, for example, require permission from the copyright holder, as do performances of plays.
What Happens When a Copyright Application Is Submitted to the Copyright Office?
Those who wish to register their copyrighted works with the U.S. Copyright Office are expected to submit the following:
- A completed application form.
- The filing fee.
- At least one copy of the work he or she wishes to register.
While copyright owners can register via mail, it may be more efficient and less expensive to register through the Copyright Office’s online portal. After submitting the application through the portal, the applicant will receive an email confirming that the application has been received. The next step is to wait — the time it takes to register a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office can vary depending on the complexity of the application and how busy the office is. Often, the process may take around eight months. It may be helpful to work with a copyright lawyer to make sure that you are filing properly and that the application will not be rejected because of a procedural issue. If the copyright registration is rejected, the applicant can send in a request for reconsideration within three months with a detailed explanation of why he or she believes the work deserves another review.
How Can a Copyright Lawyer Help?
Understanding both the process around registering a copyrighted work with the U.S. Copyright Office as well as your rights as a copyright holder can be difficult. An experienced and knowledgeable copyright lawyer may be able to provide guidance on the application process or assistance if you are concerned about infringement. At War IP Law, PLLC we work closely with our clients to try to address their needs. Consider reaching out to us today for a consultation at (202) 800-3754.