Tag Archives: Copyright attorney Chicago

Copyright Protection: The Lesser Known and less Attractive Form of Intellectual Property Protection!

Clients often, ignore the need to copyright their creative content, because of a perceived deficiency in the type of protection it offers.  There is a tendency to believe that Copyright is a very soft form of protection that would not allow the holder to actually license or make the funds that it needs to acquire, police and enforce the copyright.  This is not entirely new news to most intellectual property attorneys or cyber-lawyers.

However, Copyright protection is actually a very good form of protection for creative content and relatively inexpensive to acquire.  The filing fees for most applications are less than $35-65 per application.  Moreover, the legal fees vary, but for most simple applications for routine online creative content or works the legal fees are between $500-$1500.   The more complex the work or the sophisticated the works and the larger the size or volume of the electronic deposit–the more expensive the copyright application.  

We recommend creating copyright portfolios that allow you to build a library of protected works based on creative content for blogs, websites, user interfaces, mobile applications, drawings, figures, schematics, photographs, videos, songs, and a variety of other creative content that helps your online business succeed.  Most importantly, the Copyright Portfolio is easy to maintain and has an extremely long duration for protection of the Works or Content.  

It is vital to the success of follow through works or creations in the form of producing derivative works or content in other mediums of distribution.  The greater the number of copyrights in your copyright portfolio–the easier it is to find ways to monetize it and develop monitoring and enforcement policies by tracking subscribers, visitors, users, and clicks or event analytics information. Sending a quick DMCA Take Down Notice and a cease and desist letter and often, acquire statutory fees and legal fees.   

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Copyright Extensions, Mickey Mouse, Bill Clinton and Pioneering Copyrights?

What do Mickey Mouse and copyrights have in common? Well Walt’s Mickey Mouse is one of the longest running Copyrighted Characters in U.S. history!  Most people have grown up with Mickey Mouse – he’s been around for a long time.  Now, he is in danger of falling into the public domain, where anyone can use him or alter him.  Copyright law, however, might be able to protect him forever.  This is news that has some people excited, but others don’t see the point.

While copyrights may seem to last forever, this was not always the case.  In the early 1900s, copyright protection lasted for 28 years, which was later doubled.  Then, in 1976, Congress changed the law again; protection then lasted for the life of the author plus 50 years.  Today, copyrights last for the life of the author plus 70 years.   After protection ends, the work falls into the public domain, where anyone can use it.

So, what does this mean for Mickey Mouse?  The 1976 change originally made him available to the public domain in 2003, but President Clinton signed an extension of copyright, so he is still protected.  This is a source of constant debate of copyright attorneys, authors, singers, musicians and film makers.  On one hand, if copyright is weakened, then others can use works in the public domain and creativity may actually flourish from the increase in derivative works.  However, it makes sense to protect the hard work of authors like Walt Disney and others that provided so much contribution and enriched our experience and the experience of our kids.

Some believe that copyrights should never expire.  This may make sense for certain types of Works that have been ground breaking and the source of creative inspiration for others.  Perhaps, there should be a pioneering copyright like pioneering patents?  What do you think should there be stronger and extended protection for some copyrighted works over others?

Copyright Litigation and Defending Against Copyright Infringement Claims!

So, you have been sued for copyright infringement, because you downloaded content from a website, blog, google scholar, or another source for your creative Work Product.  Whether, you are talking about written articles, e-books, blog posts, videos, photographs, website architecture and content (Collectively “Works”), many of the issues from a copyright infringement perspective are the same.  Many individuals make the mistake of thinking that because something is published on the internet that it is part of the Public Domain, and can be used by anyone.  Quite simply, this is incorrect.  Just because a Work is available or publicly accessible does not mean that it is not subject to a valid Copyright. You must still review it to determine if, the Work is copyrighted and if, you are using it in violation of the owner or author’s Copyrights.

First, you should look for a Copyright notice.  Second, you should check the U.S. Copyright Office’s records.  Third, you should determine how much of the Copyrighted Work you are actually using in creating your own Work.  If the amount that you have appropriated is covered by the Copyright Registration, then you may very well still be liable for Copyright Infringement.   If the material is covered by a Copyright you should review your own Work to see if, it is substantially similar to the original Work covered by the Copyright Registration.  If your Work is substantially similar or uses the heart of the original Work, then you should check to see if, your Work qualifies for a defense or exception from infringement.

To determine if, your Work qualifies for an exception or defenses from infringement you need to compare your Work to the Original Work and see if, there is an applicable Fair Use, Parody, Innocent Infringer, or DMCA Safe Harbor defense.  If not, then you may be liable for Copyright Infringement, which can be substantial and ongoing source of liability.  Damages in a Copyright Infringement case can include statutory fees, attorneys’ fees, lost profits and/or reasonable royalties for the life of the Copyright or the author’s life plus seventy years.  So, before you go to a website and copy a Work and expose yourself to a Copyright Infringement, Inducing Infringement, Contributory Infringement, Vicarious Infringement, or a Digital Millennium Copyright Infringement claim, consider investigating whether the Work is Copyrighted.

If you have any concerns or questions about enforcing your copyrights or defending against copyright infringement claims, then please feel free to contact our Copyright Attorneys or see our website at: http://www.vrplawgroup.com