Copyright protection in the US covers any original creative expression or work of authorship which has been fixed in a tangible medium such as a printed page, an electronic file, a video recording or a phonorecord. Under US common law, certain copyright protections automatically belong to the author/originator upon creation. However, the right to recover money damages requires federal registration.
Copyright protection covers many things including: the authorship of books, papers, blog posts, articles and other literary expression: the creation of commercial graphic designs, product packaging art and textiles; commercial advertising in video, audio or electronic form; website content and layout; and computer software.
Copyright protection for a computer program extends to all of the copyrightable expression embodied in the program. Each version of a computer program containing new, copyrightable authorship is a separate work subject to registration by itself or as part of a larger compilation. Without a federal copyright registration, an owner cannot bring a suit in a US court for infringement and recover damages and attorney fees. Additionally, the ownership of a registered copyright can be recorded at the Copyright office as a defense against false ownership claims and can also be recorded with US Customs to protect against infringing importation.
How do you secure the copyrightable work of your employees and contractors as the lawful property of your business? There is no single, easy answer. We can help you avoid the legal traps that vex the unwary. Many practitioners are not well informed about the US rule for “works made for hire.” A contract provision on work made for hire will not be enforceable unless it meets all the statutory conditions of 17 U.S.C. 101. You don’t want to learn after the fact that “works made for hire” do not cover works such as software, sound recordings, or most writings. Those types of copyrighted works must be assigned to establish your ownership. We know how to secure your ownership interest through proper use of the provisions of the Copyright Act in employment agreements and service contracts.
For more information contact Greg Casimer at firstname.lastname@example.org.