Intellectual property (IP) is the legal term for our original creations, be they unique inventions, creative endeavors, special flavors, or any other protected original content.
Examples of intellectual property include copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. Under international copyright law, copyrights are an automatic right for original creations; no official registration is required. That said, officially registering your copyrights is recommended as it grants you an extra level of authenticity and protection from those seeking to steal your work. Examples of copyrighted works include architecture, books, movies, music, paintings, photographs, poetry, and plays.
Without officially registering your copyrighted material, it can sometimes be challenging to prove that the original work belongs to you should a copyright infringement claim go to court. Unfortunately, theft of original works is fairly prevalent in both the creative realm and brand name businesses. It is wise to take steps to defend against such a possibility by working with professional legal counsel to register your copyright. A copyright lawyer can help you understand your exclusive rights and how to protect those rights.
If you suspect your copyrighted works have been stolen or misused, you have legal options for making things right. However, it is not easy to defend your copyright, especially if it was not registered and especially if you do not have copyright attorneys in your corner defending your interests. Difficult though it may be, it is still worth the legal troubles to protect your copyrights because this is your original work, your livelihood, and often the face of your brand.
Among the steps you may take to help defend your copyright from theft include:
- At first, you need to establish that the property you believe is stolen truly has similarities to your content that rise to the level of copyright infringement.
- Document everything you can find about the copyright theft. This may include where you’ve seen the copyrighted material misused, when you first noticed the theft, what you believe the at-fault party gained from their theft, and what losses you’ve endured.
- Get the proof you need in the form of images, samples, contracts, and restrictive covenants.
- Keep detailed books that show how the theft has affected your finances and the sales of your copyright-protected material.
- Patents have expiration dates – if your patent was stolen, you must establish that your patent has not expired.
- Prove that you did not grant your consent for the copyrighted material to be taken or used by the accused.
- Show that you have the exclusive rights as owner of the intellectual property.
- At any stage in the process, it’s recommended that you retain legal counsel from lawyers experienced with IP protection.
We encourage you to reach out to our law firm if you have any questions or concerns about your copyrighted material being infringed upon.
How to Avoid Having Your Copyrighted Material Stolen?
The most surefire way to defend against copyright infringement is to be proactive about protecting your works. Remember that while copyrights are automatic, that does not mean that they’re easy to prove or defend.
Steps you can take to defend your copyrighted works include:
- Add a copyright notice wherever it is appropriate to do so.
- Add a warning about unlawful use of your copyright-protected work.
- Ensure you have proof of the date and time you completed your copyrighted work.
- Keep several drafts of your work or proof of said drafts. Make sure the time of these drafts is documented.
What Rights Are Exclusive to the Copyright Holder?
Under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, copyright holders enjoy a number of exclusive rights as the owners of a copyright.
Copyright owner exclusive rights include the following:
- The legal authority to reproduce copyrighted works.
- The legal right to distribute and redistribute copyrighted works.
- The right to create other works which derive from the original copyrighted content.
- The right to showcase copyrighted material in public performance or display.
In order to ensure that you and your original work enjoy the rights afforded to you, work with experienced attorneys to register a copyright. At the Lankford Law Firm, our legal team has extensive experience assisting clients in Central Florida with their business and creative pursuits. To learn more about the legal services we offer, please contact our law office today for a case evaluation.
What Are Potential Remedies in Copyright Infringement Cases?
If you are able to prove your case to a court and show that the accused did steal your copyrighted material, the court may order several different remedies for your case.
Potential remedies for a copyright infringement case include:
- A court order that the defendant must stop all further use of the copyright-protected material.
- Court orders that the defendant must forfeit and/or destroy all the stolen copyrighted material.
- Monetary awards for damages sustained by the plaintiff, including their legal fees and the defendant’s profits.
Schedule an In-Depth Consultation with Experienced Copyright Attorneys Today
If you believe that your copyrighted work has been stolen or misused, you have several legal options available to you. However, it may be an uphill battle from here, especially without legal guidance from copyright lawyers experienced in cases such as yours. The legal team of Lankford Law Firm has extensive experience helping clients across Central Florida with issues surrounding copyright infringement. We are a small firm, but we view that as a strength rather than a weakness, as it allows us the time to provide personalized legal representation to all our clients.
To speak with lead attorney Lankford Law Firm and her knowledgeable legal staff, please contact our Daytona Beach-based law offices to schedule your initial consultation. You may call our law office at 850-888-8992.