What is Copyright Protection All About?

August 21st, 2014

These days, with such easy access to everything on the Internet—from movies to books to pictures—many people assume that creative works are free to be used by anyone for anything. If it is on the Internet then it’s public, right? Wrong. Finding a photo online doesn’t mean that the person who owns it wants you using it on your website or for your own purpose. You can search for new music online, but that doesn’t mean you can freely copy and play that music wherever, whenever, or however you please. So, how can you tell what works are protected by copyright?

Copyright Defined

Copyright is the term used to describe the rights given to the creator of an artistic work. Copyright ownership begins at the Copyrightmoment the work is created and put in a form people can touch, see, or hear. The moment you finish a drawing or painting, it is copyrighted. The moment you express your ideas on paper or in digital format, what you’ve written is copyrighted. The moment you write and/or record a song, it is copyrighted. Copyright covers what are traditionally thought of as artistic works, such as writings, pictures, music and sculpture, but it also covers computer programs, technical drawings, maps and databases—the unique expressions of creative minds and bodies.

Ideas cannot be copyrighted. It is only when those ideas get their unique, tangible expression that they are copyrighted. If a person takes a photo of a building or writes about the zombie apocalypse, the idea of the picture or story can’t be copyrighted, but the way those ideas are expressed is what is copyrighted and owned by the creator.

What Owning Copyright Means

What does owning a copyright mean? There are many exclusive rights that come with being the owner of a copyrighted work. Copyright owners have the exclusive right to, or to authorize others to, reproduce a work, distribute a work, publish or present a work, and prepare other works based on that work—like adapting a book into a movie. Having the “exclusive” right means that the copyright owner is the only one allowed to use or license these rights. Anyone else that uses these rights without permission is infringing – or violating – the copyright owner’s rights.

Copyright Registration

Although a creator owns a copyright as soon as the work is created, in the United States it is best for the creator to register that copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. Registrations are fairly inexpensive and can be submitted online. Often times, mulitiple works can be registered with one registration application and one registration fee. A copyright registration is the best proof a person can have that they own the copyright in a work. The value of that registration frequently far exceeds the cost of registration.

Copyrights are valuable and the rights granted by copyright are exclusive. So, next time you’re online and thinking of using someone else’s creative work, be sure you have the right to do so.  Just because it is online doesn’t mean you have permission to use it.

Creative Law Network has expert attorneys based in Denver, CO to guide clients through the intricacies of copyright law and help them protect their rights. For more information, visit http://creativelawnetwork.com.

Current Trends in Copyright, Trademark and Entertainment Law

July 7th, 2014

The digital era has introduced us to convenience, instant communication, instant information and unlimited databases for research.  Along with digital information comes the growing need for ways to protect it.  Our Copyright, Trademark and Entertainment Laws must be improved to protect against copyright infringement in the digital age.

What’s Happening?

In 2013, approximately $9.7 billion worth of software was pirated in the United States.  While copyrighting software has been Copyright Trademark Entertainment Law Trendspracticed for decades, the means to illegally replicate and distribute it has grown tremendously.  Finding ways to protect software developers and their products is imperative to keeping their companies running.  Similar issues are occuring in digital fields such as databases and digital media.  Today’s technology allows for easy, cheap and instantaneous file sharing.  Twitter, for example, averages over 9000 tweets per second globally.  It literally takes seconds for an original document or file to become globally accessible.  As these changes and technological advances occur, there is a growing need to update copyright laws and practices.

What Is Being Done?

The U.S. government is reviewing the current state of affairs and considering steps needed to update the relevant copyright, trademark and entertainment laws.  There is a recognized need to improve these rules to protect developers and distributors.  Database rights are also being reviewed.  Databases fall outside the protections of the U.S. Copyright Law because a database is not a creative work.  Regulation has been encouraged to govern the use of this factual information. Exclusive rights to digital media rights are also being reviewed for improvements.   Social media has exploded in recent years and the sharing of files is possibly one of the most common features of these social media websites.  Photographs, written documents, music and videos are passed around the internet millions of times each day, every day of the year.  The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was implemented in 1998 to protect the owners of creative works in the digital world.  However, technology has continued to advance and evolve faster than the copyright laws can adapt.

Present and Future

Databases, digital media, software and internet technology are part of our daily lives.  While many people give little thought to how information is received, there are specific rules governing the ownership and transfer of data and materials. There is a growing need to focus on updating the laws that protect the owners and creators of creative works and information.  The digital revolution presents new challenges for the current copyright, trademark and entertainment laws.  Changes must be made to ensure that artists, creators, distributors and owners are able to produce, protect and profit from their material under the protection of the appropriate laws.

At Creative Law Network, we help you make sense of all of these legal issues and changes.  If your work is available online, talk to us about ways to protect both yourself and your work.  We will help you understand the law and use it to your advantage.

Our Copyright Attorney in Denver has the Information you need

February 22nd, 2014

The Internet has become one of our main sources of distribution and recognition.  Files and creative works have largely changed from paper format to electronic format.  Leisure online time has similarly transformed.  In just four short years, the Internet had 50 million users.  It took radio 38 years to reach this same number.  Most people use the Internet as their source for music, movies, videos, and general information.  “Sharing”, “Liking” and “Tweeting” photographs and videos are a common part of using the World Wide Web.  Many people do not realize that this simple action may be illegal.  Our copyright attorney in Denver can inform you of your rights to your creative works and advise you on the best ways to protect them.

As an artist, musician, photographer or journalist, you want to maintain and protect the rights to your work.  Unfortunately, the Internet makes it very easy for others to violate your copyrights.  For example, while photographs are easy to watermark with today’s computer programs it is just as easy for somebody else to remove that identifying feature.  A single image can be passed around the world within minutes.  In that same amount of time you will lose control and credit for your work.  Avoiding digital circulation is difficult but having protection from copyright infringement is not.  Our experienced copyright attorney in Denver has worked with many clients helping them protect their work from those who may illegally distribute it.

If you do not want to pay to protect your work or believe that your work is not valuable enough to protect, you should reconsider.  That one photograph may be taken by someone else and used on an expensive website or to market someone else’s company. The money that you deserve will wrongfully go  to the person who stole and claimed your work as their own.  Yes, copyrighting does cost money, but not a lot compared what you can lose by not protecting your work.  Contacting a copyright attorney in Denver may save you years of regret and make you lots of money.

Let’s look at the facts. Flickr averages 3000 image uploads per minute.  Facebook shares 70 billion pieces of content each month. YouTube averages 92 million page views each month.  These are staggering numbers.  Consider how much of that material was copyrighted and how much of it was downloaded, shared or saved without consent from the owner.   How many of these photographs, songs and writings were uploaded without proper rights?  It is also worth noting that there are individual website rules governing what happens to your content after it is uploaded to a site.  You must be aware of these rules in order to protect – and profit from – your work.

Creative Law Network is experienced and knowledgeable about copyright law and how to protect you from copyright infringement.  We have years of experience dealing with the U.S. Copyright Office.  Our goal is to help you protect your copyrights and your work.  Contact us for a free consultation about how we can help.