Copyright protection is available for original works of authorship. Protectable works include literary, musical and dramatic works; choreography; pictorial, graphical, structural and architectural works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works; sound recordings; and computer programs. The owner of a copyright has exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute copies, create derivatives and perform or display the work, subject to certain “Fair Use” rights by non-owners.
The copyright is created upon fixing an expression in a tangible medium, such as a book, a database or film. However, registration of a copyright is necessary in order to enforce certain rights. To register a copyright, one must file an application with the U.S. Copyright Office along with a fee and a specimen of the work to be registered. The timing of the registration is important as registration affords the owner with certain rights in an infringement action such as the ability to collect attorney fees and seek certain damages based upon the effective date of the registration.
Rader, Fishman & Grauer counsels companies on all aspects of copyright creation and enforcement.