Copyrighting your original works such as website, a packaging design, a sell sheet, written article, a new song or a vector artwork can protect it from being used by others illegally. After you successfully register your works, you are given restricted rights to display, reproduce your work, sell and sue anyone that violates these rights.
- Copyrights made after January 1, 1978, last for 70 years after the death of the creator.
- Copyrights made through employing someone last 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation.
Under the present law you don’t have to display or publish a work the copyright in order a obtain copyright.
Notwithstanding your restricted rights, others may use your work sometimes without consent, if it represents ‘fair use’. This is generally restricted to educational, commentary or newsworthy purposes. For instance, someone may display your product in their E-Commerce website, while displaying your product along with its packaging in its entirety.
If you need to take a copyright infringement case to federal court, it must be a registered copyright for this process to be valid. It is a good business practice to register your copyrights within three months of the publication date or before the supposed violation happened. Copyrights are registered at the U.S. Copyright Office. You can recover up to $150,000 in lawsuit without even proving any real money damages, if you register. The records at the Copyright Office are public, meaning anyone can access them.
If you register online, you will receive a certificate within a couple of months. Paper filing could take as long as a full year. These time frames assume the filings were executed correctly and with no errors or omission.
International copyright protection
There are no standardized international copyright laws that would protect your copyrights automatically throughout the world. The US has conventions and treaties with most countries in the world (though not all them) so your copyrights would be protected in most of them. Most countries in the world honor each other’s copyrights. However, there have been cases where the time zone differences, language barriers and culture differences make copyright enforcement a laborious issue.
How We Help:
Do you have copyright filing needs? Have you discovered a foreign entity using your brand in their documentation or pretending to be an assigned representative? We can help you. Contact us today to discuss your options.