Protecting Your Intellectual Property
Entertainment, Media, Music & Book Publishing Copyrights
Robinson Law PC provides experienced and affordable intellectual property and copyright attorneys that have obtained copyrights for Musicians, Authors, Producers and Companies all over the United States. Artists such as songwriters, authors, media producers and business entrepreneurs often need to protect their creative ideas.
Robinson Law PC is a partnership of skilled media and entertainment attorneys who have broad experience with “intellectual property law“. We provide creative solutions to protecting your work with legal tools like Music, Book or Media Copyrights and Business Trademarks. Our Intellectual Property Attorneys are committed to protecting your unique creative work from piracy and exploitation and to the success of your dreams.
Music and Book Copyrights
A “Copyright” protects the tangible expression of an idea (the way it is expressed), such as a writer’s ideas expressed in a book, a musician’s performance expressed in a recording, etc. As the author of “original works of authorship”, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, you have protection under Title 17 of the United States Code (“Copyright Act“).
You have the exclusive right to reproduce copies of the work, display or perform the work publicly, and prepare derivative works based on the original. It is illegal for anyone to violate these exclusive rights without your permission.
I am often asked Can I just mail the song lyrics that I’ve written to myself and keep the postmarked envelope as proof that I own the copyright? (This is sometimes casually referred to as a poor man’s copyright). That is NOT a copyright. It is merely evidence that at a certain date you had possession of the song or copyrightable material.
The only valid way to protect a copyright is to register it with the Library of Congress. You don’t need to mail anything to yourself. You already have a copyright in the song you’ve written simply by creating it. At the moment you take your pen off the page and the last line is written, you have a copyright in the completed work.
However, the important thing now is to protect your work so that others do not exploit it without your permission, or without paying you money. So if you plan to make widespread use of that song, by assigning it to a music publisher, or recording it, or performing it, whether you or anyone else, you want to take steps to protect your copyright in that song.
Why do you need copyright protection? Because you hope your song becomes a huge hit, gets platinum record sales and hours of airplay. This translates into royalties to you, the copyright owner, and these can be very lucrative. I know a songwriter that had the good fortune to have one of his songs recorded by Elvis Presley over 30 years ago and he is still receiving royalty checks today. You don’t want to miss out on payments just because you failed to take steps to demonstrate that you are the lawful owner (and entitled to the money) if some other person tries to profit from your creative work.
Literary agents, authors, and book publishers also need to protect their written creative works in the same manner and for the same reasons. Plagiarism is always bad, but especially when you lose substantial money because of it. Illegal copies of books, videos, and other pirated forms of media have cost true owners millions of dollars worldwide, even though piracy is a federal crime. Registering your copyrights will give protection and afford certain statutory damages to you that you cannot otherwise obtain unless you have registered your copyrighted work in a proper and timely manner.
Robinson Law PC has represented authors, book publishers, songwriters, record companies, music publishers, graphic artists, and architects in registering and maintaining their copyrights. Contact us for a free initial copyright consultation.