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what is a copyright lawyer and what does a copyright lawyer do?

What is a Copyright Lawyer and What Does a Copyright Lawyer Do?

By John DiGiacomo

Copyright law firms engage in the practice of and provide legal services related to copyright law. Copyright law is mostly based on federal law; that is the federal Copyright Act. But there are also some state-level copyright statutes, and there is a general body of common law copyright standards and rules established by collective reported case decisions. There are also international treaties governing the global use of copyrighted works.

Generally speaking, copyright law is about providing legal protection for what is now called “original works of authorship.” That is a legalistic way of identifying creative works made by writers, artists, music and lyric writers, performers, photographers, filmmakers, and many others. Copyright laws give the creators of original works the right to profit from their works. This includes the ability to exclude others from using their works without permission and the right to sue if that right is infringed. To have the maximum legal protections, an original work of authorship must be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office (although copyright comes into existence when the original work is created). In this manner, copyrights have become a form of property that can be licensed, sold, passed down to heirs, or otherwise alienated from the original creator.

From the above, it can be seen the four major types of legal work that are done by copyright lawyers. These are:

  • Legal services with respect to copyright registration
  • Legal help with regard to policing a person’s copyright and avoiding infringing copyrights owned by others
  • Legal assistance concerning how to license, buy/sell or transfer a copyright and
  • The prosecution or defense of copyright infringement litigation

Registration of copyrights can be relatively “easy” for small and simple types of original works. Essentially, a form is completed, fees paid, and two copies of the work are sent to the U.S. Copyright Office. However, for more complex original works — like a video game, a series of photographs, computer code, etc. — registration is more complicated. Copyright law firms — like Revision Legal — can be very helpful in making sure registration is done correctly. Without registration, the owner is not allowed to initiate copyright infringement litigation.

Policing a copyright is difficult in this Age of the Internet. Did someone upload a copy of your excellent photograph on the internet? How do you get your photograph removed? Or maybe you just want attribution? Or maybe you just want to get paid for your work? Policing involves searching for violations of your rights, demanding the removal of infringing use, and, eventually, the use of litigation to enforce your rights

Transferring copyrights is also legally complex since there are at least three “dimensions” that must be considered. The first is time — that is, will the transfer of the copyright be a limited time or forever? Geography comes next. Is the transfer only for U.S. rights, U.K. rights, global rights, or something else? Finally, there is the scope of the transfer. Is the transfer just for THIS story and THESE characters but does not involve derivative stories/characters, the “world” of the original work, etc.? A copyright owner will definitely need the skills of talented copyright attorneys to help with licensing, sales, purchases, and other transfers. In this category should also be noted legal issues concerning “works for hire.”

Copyright litigation, of course, will necessitate the hiring of top-tier copyright litigators.

Contact the Copyright Attorneys at Revision Legal For more information, contact the experienced Copyright Lawyers at Revision Legal. You can contact us through the form on this page or call (855) 473-8474.

Put Revision Legal on your side