Copyrights are constitutional rights. US law recognizes the right of a creator to own and control his or her artistic and academic creations. Protecting these rights encourages all of us to share our talents and ideas, which ultimately inspire others to create their own Mona Lisa’s.
A copyright is not just one right, it is a bundle of rights. Under 17 U.S.C 106 a copyright owner has the exclusive right to
(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies (if unauthorized, we call this “piracy”);
(2) to prepare offshoot works based upon the copyrighted work;
(3) to sell, rent, lease, or lend copies of the copyrighted work;
(4)& (5) to perform or display the copyrighted work publically, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures (including the individual images of a motion picture); and
(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.”
The copyright owner is naturally the author. But determining who the author is can sometimes be difficult, especially if the copyrighted work was created by a team or some third party had a similar idea around the same time. Here is where the formalities of copyright registration become very useful.
Registration is not required for ownership, but it does strengthen the owner’s rights and ability to defend against would-be copyright infringers. It is important to registering your creative work early. Registering early makes defending it later in court much easier and could entitle you to greater money damages.
If you’re the author or creator of a film, piece of art, written work, musical composition, or other type of creative work, call us today to learn more about how you can protect your intellectual property.
As a copyright owner, one of the exclusive rights you own is the right to sell the right to use your material, known as licensing. Our intellectual property attorneys know how to structure your copyright licensing deal so that everyone gets what they bargained for without sacrificing their autonomy or ownership rights.