Why register copyrights?
Copyright protects the original expression of ideas when “fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” While copyright protection attaches automatically upon creation (unlike trademark protection), federal copyright registration is required to (1) file a copyright infringement lawsuit, (2) obtain attorney’s fees in court, or (3) obtain statutory damages for infringement. Statutory damages can be as high as $150,000 per violation, which is often far greater than actual losses. In addition, a registration within five years of creation is prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright and the facts stated in the application.
Most importantly, if you do not register your copyright, the remedies available to you if someone else infringes your work are very limited and your recovery will be limited to the actual value of damages. You will not be able to recover statutory damages or attorney’s fees, and you will be limited to an action in state court with a judge who is probably unfamiliar with copyright law.
The Law Offices of Michael D. Steger, PC provides comprehensive legal services for businesses and individuals seeking to protect their creations and other intellectual property under copyright law. Mr. Steger works with advertisers, marketers, writers, producers, directors, musicians, programmers and other content creators in the areas of film, television, music, advertising, computer software, and other entertainment and technology fields.
- Copyright Counseling: We consult with you to devise the best strategy to protect your copyrighted works, including registering your works and negotiating appropriate agreements. We also advise on the fair use of copyrighted works.
- Copyright Licensing: We negotiate and document licenses and other agreements to protect your rights and get you the most value for your creation. The firm handles transactions including licensing, sales, options and loans for copyrighted works.
- Copyright Protection: We handle disputes over the improper use of your copyrighted material, including cease-and-desist demands and litigation. We may seek to simply halt unauthorized use of your material or pursue damages for the value you have lost. We also defend you against demands and lawsuits claiming that you have infringed someone else‚Äôs copyrighted works. Mr. Steger was lead counsel in the case of Berman v. Johnson, 518 F.Supp.2d 791 (E.D.Va. 2007), a case of first impression that established the test for joint authorship of copyright in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Mr. Steger, the firm’s founder, has handled copyright matters for over ten years, both as a lawyer in private practice in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC area and as in-house counsel for various FOX entities. His work includes litigation regarding film, television, interactive video and music projects, and negotiations for entertainment and technology products, including online projects, copyright registrations and licensing. In 2010 Mr. Steger was named the Best Intellectual Property Attorney for Growing Businesses by New York Enterprise Reports. Please contact us today to discuss your copyright needs.