Intellectual Property: Copyright

Our Dallas Copyright Lawyers Can Protect Your Intellectual Property

Businesses and creative professionals should not have to worry about competitors or other parties stealing their creative work. Unfortunately, copyright infringement is rampant in the United States. There are many famous examples of copyright infringement allegations. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was a copyright case between tech giants Apple and Microsoft. The companies fought over who developed the graphical user interface for modern computers. Microsoft won the case in the 1990s, and Apple experienced troubles for a decade after.

Copyright laws exist to protect ideas that are tangible, such as content, videos, music, graphics, movies and video games. Without these protections, your competitors could steal your ideas and pawn them off as their own. This would rob you of your ability to market and receive recognition for your work. You have legal protections under copyright laws that can prevent this common pitfall.

It may not be easy to protect yourself against instances of copyright infringement. As we saw in the case with Microsoft and Apple, it may take years to resolve copyright infringement cases. It could be difficult to hold the other party accountable for stealing your work. Our firm can help you establish extra protections for your works by helping you register with the Copyright Office.

At Carstens & Cahoon, LLP, we provide innovative legal services to individuals and businesses who want to protect their creative or scientific works. If you want help with these matters, our experienced Dallas copyright attorneys can provide quality services.

How Can I Use Copyright Laws?

Copyright laws allow you to reap the benefits of your creative works. You may use these works to receive recognition or to make money. Copyright can also establish how your works are distributed, reproduced by others or displayed. For many individuals and businesses, copyrighted work is important for marketing and financial purposes.

The main copyright law in the United States is the Copyright Act of 1976. This law prevents the unauthorized copying of “works of authorship” which provides various exclusive rights over the works, but the law is limited in scope. You can still take additional steps to protect your works by registering a copyright.

You should consider speaking with an attorney about whether it is necessary to register your works with the Copyright Office. Registered copyrights can help if it ever becomes necessary to protect your works from copyright infringement. The benefits of copyright registration include:

  • You establish public ownership. Early copyright registration can be helpful in establishing evidence of ownership of a work. By registering a copyright, you create public record of ownership that makes it easier to dispute claims that you do not own your works. Early registration can also make it easier to secure a court order if you need to take immediate action to prevent the infringing party from causing further damage to your works or reputation. Registering a copyright can serve as evidence to rebut a claim that you do not own the work in question.
  • You can file lawsuits. Another major advantage of registering a copyright is that it provides standing to file a lawsuit against the infringing party for damages. Without a registration, a copyright infringement suit is subject to dismissal by the court. Only after the Copyright Office issues a registration can you file a lawsuit for copyright infringement. Although it can take time for the Copyright Office to issue a copyright registration, there are ways to expedite the process. Our experienced attorneys are able to help fast-track the registration by applying for special handling with the Copyright Office.
  • You may obtain statutory damages. If you file for your copyright registration prior to any infringement of the copyright, you can elect to recover statutory damages instead of actual damages in an infringement action. The judge can assess statutory damages of up to $750,000 for each work that is infringed by a defendant in an infringement action. The amount of damages that the judge is likely to assess depends on the circumstances of the case, but statutory damages can be very useful where the actual damages or profits of the infringer are difficult to prove.

What Are Examples of Copyright Infringement?

You have most likely heard of common examples of copyright infringement. For instance, illegally downloading and sharing music, movies, photos and other digital works are common examples.

Written content is also a common target of copyright infringement. This may occur when a person copies (plagiarizes) your written work and passes it off as content they created.

Do I Need to Register a Copyright?

When you consider that registering a creative work with the Copyright Office is inexpensive, it makes sense for certain people to go through the process. You do not necessarily have to register a copyright, but depending on what you are trying to protect, it can be a good idea.

As mentioned above, registration of your works with the Copyright Office is required to file a lawsuit, and if done soon enough can allow you to recover statutory damages. 

If you have any doubts about whether you should go through the registration process, then you should speak with one of our experienced intellectual property attorneys.

Do I Need a Copyright Attorney?

Copyright is automatic, meaning that you have the right to profit from and receive recognition for tangible works you produce. Not everyone needs to hire an attorney. It depends on what you are trying to protect and what your long-term goals are for marketing your work.

However, there are two additional scenarios where you should consider hiring a copyright attorney. If another party is stealing your work, especially for financial gain or to damage your reputation, then you should strongly consider hiring a copyright attorney. Our experienced attorneys can help you pursue legal action against the infringing party before they do more damage.

You should consider hiring a copyright attorney if you are being accused of copyright infringement. An attorney could help you mount a legal defense to protect your reputation and help you avoid potential consequences. 

How Our Dallas Intellectual Property Lawyers Can Help

The intellectual property lawyers at Carstens & Cahoon, LLP have the experience and passion to help businesses and professionals protect their creative works. Our attorneys are trusted advisors to some of the world’s leading companies and brightest entrepreneurs. We can help with a range of intellectual property issues, including copyright registration and copyright litigation.

You can learn more about how we can help protect your intellectual property by calling us at 972-528-9039 or by using our online contact form. To learn more about the skills and experience our team brings to the table, continue to explore our website.