Accomplished Phoenix Copyright Lawyers Assist Creators
Firm safeguards clients’ works through administrative matters and litigation
Creative expression enriches our society and therefore deserves robust protection. That is the basic premise behind U.S. copyright law. If you are a business or individual creator, such as an author, filmmaker, composer, visual artist or photographer, you have the sole right to sell, reproduce or license your creation. At Law Offices of Donald W. Hudspeth P.C. in Phoenix, our copyright attorneys help Arizona clients protect and monetize their creations. We offer sound counsel and aggressive litigation representation, so you safeguard the rightful ownership of your works.
Key elements of U.S. copyright law
Copyright is an intellectual property asset that can be attached to a wide range of creative works. At common law, copyright attaches at the point of creation, the moment when someone takes an idea and renders it in tangible form. From there, the creator has the ability to hold or transfer their rights in a variety of ways. For example, a painter can sell an original painting but retain the right to reproduce the painting and market prints of it. The principle underlying copyright is that the owner possesses the sole right to reproduce, adapt, distribute, publicly perform and publicly display the work.
Works created today fall under the Copyright Act of 1976, which sets the term of the copyright at the author’s lifetime plus 70 years. After that, the work enters the public domain, and anyone can use it. However, if you want to use a work created before 1978, prior laws apply, and the copyright could last as long as 95 years from the date of creation.
When someone uses a copyrighted creation without permission, they have infringed upon the owner’s rights. However, the owner’s remedy depends on whether the work has been registered at the U.S. Copyright Office. If not, the owner can only recover actual damages, which means economic losses that can be proven, such as the amount the infringer profited from the illicit use. An owner who has registered the work can also recover statutory damages, which can be substantial. The court has discretion to order the basic level of damages which ranges from $750 to $30,000 per work. However, if the defendant is liable for “willful infringement,” the owner may be entitled as much as $150,000 per work. An infringer who demonstrates that they were “not aware and had no reason to believe” they were violating someone else’s rights can have their liability reduced.
How our Phoenix attorneys help with copyright matters
Our attorneys help creators protect their works with cogent, timely advice about copyright registration and management of their creative portfolios. We also counsel clients on the steps to take to monitor infringement, especially on the internet. When infringement occurs, owners have a range of options, including a suit for damages. Sometimes, the best course is to negotiate a licensing agreement with the infringer, which allows the creator to monetize the work and avoid costly litigation. Finally, we deliver knowledgeable advice to users of creative content who want to avoid allegations of infringement. For example, we draft work-for-hire contracts that allow businesses to obtain all rights to content developed for their business websites.
Whether you are looking to protect your creation or avoid legal disputes over the use of creative materials, one of our knowledgeable copyright attorneys is ready to help.
Contact our Phoenix law firm for advice on copyright ownership and disputes
Law Offices of Donald W. Hudspeth P.C. in Phoenix provides comprehensive counsel relating to copyright protection. For a consultation with a knowledgeable copyright attorney, please call 866-696-2033 or contact us online. Located in midtown Phoenix, our office is easily accessed by light rail or car, with plenty of available parking.