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  Unlike patents, the government does not grant copyright protection to authors and artists. Copyright protection automatically extends to original works of authorship that are fixed in any tangible medium of expression that can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated. Categories of copyrightable subject matter include literary, musical, and dramatic works; pantomimes and choreographic works; pictorial, graphic, audiovisual, and sculptural works; motion pictures, sound recordings, software and architectural plans. Copyright protection does not exist for phrases, titles, ideas, procedures, processes, systems, methods, operations, concepts, principles, or discoveries, regardless of the form in which they are embodied.

While the law automatically provides creators of copyrightable works with a copyright, additional steps are required to take full advantage of the protections provided by the copyright law.

The Copyright Notice (© 2011 Hanes & Bartels)

  Although not required in order to acquire or maintain a copyright, a proper copyright notice placed on the work implements certain legal advantages to the copyright owner, including the elimination of some defenses to a copyright infringement action such as the innocent infringer defense.    

Copyright Registration

  Proper registration of the copyright with the United States Copyright Office is absolutely necessary before the copyright can be enforced in a court of law. A correct application for registration of the copyright will many times involve a legal analysis of whether the work is one made for hire and other issues related to ownership and publication of the copyrighted work. Expeditious registration (within three months of the first publication) of and author or artist’s claim to copyright in the United States Copyright Office also has a dramatic effect on the damages that may be claimed for copyright infringement and the award of attorney fees to the copyright owner.

The attorneys at Hanes & Bartels LLC have many years of experience in all aspect of copyright law, including the filing of copyright registration applications, the trial and appeal of copyright infringement lawsuits, representing both plaintiffs and defendants, negotiation and drafting of copyright license agreements and advising on the doctrine of “fair use” that may avoid copyright infringement.
The firm of Hanes & Bartels LLC is equipped to provide advice and assistance on all of the important issues that impact the value and effectiveness of a copyright. When the time comes to take advantage of the copyright through negotiation and licensing or the enforcement of the copyright through litigation, the firm is prepared to adeptly represent a copyright client.
  This website is not intended to constitute legal advice and may not reflect the most current legal developments. The information contained in this website is provided only as general information. By posting and/or maintaining this website and its contents, Hanes & Bartels LLC does not intend to solicit legal business from clients located in states or jurisdictions where Hanes Hrbacek & Bartels LLC or its individual attorneys are not licensed or authorized to practice law. Responding to this website does not create an attorney/client relationship.