It doesn’t take too much guidance from a copyright lawyer to understand that a copyrighted work is easy to create. As long as the work is original and fixed in a tangible medium of expression, it is automatically protected under federal copyright law. This low threshold for copyright protection means that almost all of us, both individuals and businesses, have at some point created copyrightable material. For example, if you or your business has a blog or a website, the original blog posts and website content that you create and publish on the internet are copyrightable material as soon as your fingers hit the keyboard.
Three more difficult areas that you or your business may face when dealing with copyrights are 1) protecting your copyright, 2) licensing your copyright, and 3) infringing someone else’s copyright.
1. Protecting Your Copyright
Copyrightable works that are used for commercial gain can be valuable assets for a business. If a business wants to keep a copyrighted work solely for its own use, it must be diligent in making sure that no one else is using the work. If an owner discovers that someone has impermissibly used its copyrighted work, a copyright lawyer can provide important guidance on the legal remedies available to the owner.
2. Licensing Your Copyright
If the copyrighted work is an item that the owner wants to license to others for use, a copyright lawyer can assist the owner in negotiating license agreements with other users. An experienced copyright lawyer will know how to arrange a fair yet profitable agreement between the owner and the licensed user.
3. Infringing Someone Else’s Copyright
If you are facing an accusation of infringement, it is also crucial to consult a copyright lawyer. Although no one wants to be accused of infringement in the first place, a copyright lawyer can explore defenses, including lack of copying, independent creation, and fair use.
Although copyrightable material is generated in large volumes every day and much of it will avoid any controversy altogether, if any of your business’s assets are copyrighted works, it is highly important for you to protect those assets. An experienced copyright lawyer will be a business’s best partner in navigating these important issues.