Our law firm assists clients throughout southern California in acquiring copyrights. If you have an infringement or litigation issue, or need local counsel or pro hac vice assistance, please see our copyright infringement or copyright litigation page. Our intellectual property litigation page includes our litigation philosophy and results that we have achieved for our clients.
A copyright exists from the time an original work of authorship is fixed to a tangible medium. For example, if you write an article and publish it on the Internet, it is fixed to a tangible medium and you likely own the copyright. Though not required, it is always a good idea to use a copyright notice on your work to put the world on notice of your rights. This is particularly true if you intend to publish your work. The notice should be in the following form: © 2011 Mandour & Associates, APC.
Although a copyright can exist without registration, a registered U.S. copyright provides benefits that are extremely valuable. The benefits include creating a presumption as to ownership and the right to recover statutory damages and attorney’s fees for all post registration infringements. In practice, the ability to recover statutory damages and attorneys’ fees often becomes a primary weapon for a copyright holder in the event of a copyright infringement. A registered copyright also notifies potential infringers that you are serious about protecting your intellectual property, and it also tends to increase the value of both the work and the business which owns it.
One common misconception with copyrights is that, if you pay an independent contractor to create a work, then you own the work. This is not correct. Generally, a work for hire agreement must be signed by the independent contractor prior to creation of the work for this to be the case. At times a work for hire agreement cannot transfer rights and in such cases a written assignment of rights is required. Copyright applications are deceptively easy to file and so great care should be taken in preparing the application. If the application is not filed correctly, it is possible that it can later be invalidated.
If you are interested in having us assist you with the filing of a copyright application, please contact us. We have offices throughout southern California.