Copyrights

Copyrights protect original works authorship once they are "fixed" in a tangible medium of expression. Many people think of copyright law in connection with artistic works, such as books, music and videos, but it also applies to industrial property such as computer software, advertising literature, manuals and compilations of information. Copyright law does not protect ideas, but it protects the way in which the ideas are expressed. Copyright protection is easy to assert. The simplest way is to legend the work with the copyright symbol, year of publication and owner. (© 1997 AB Company). Although no longer strictly necessary, using the copyright legend is a very good idea because its use puts people on notice that you intend the material to be proprietary. Copyrighted works need not be registered with the Copyright Office in order to be protected. Registration is a prerequisite for bringing a suit for infringement but, unlike patent requirements, federal copyright registration does not have to be effected at the time of publication. If infringement commences before registration occurs, however, you will generally not be able to recover so-called "statutory damages" (which do not require proof of actual damages) or attorneys' fees. As a defensive matter, you should never copy text or pictures from a competitor's website, catalog, package or advertising. The penalties for copyright infringement can be substantial.

The Copyright Process

Copyright FAQs

Litigation & Remedies

Copyright FAQs