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We have extensive experience in the area of copyright, including copyright registration in the United States Copyright Office, litigation and pre-litigation services, contracts related to copyright, and advice and consultation.
Do you need to register a copyright? We can register your copyrights for you or guide you through the process.
Have you received a cease-and-desist letter or been sued for copyright infringement? Or do you want to send a cease-and-desist letter or sue someone for copyright infringement? We have ample experience in defending and prosecuting cases of copyright infringement. Pre-litigation services involve gathering, preparing, and analyzing evidence of infringement or lack thereof, as well as pre-litigation settlement negotiations.
Do you need advice about negotiating and drafting a license, assignment or other agreement regarding copyrights? Do you need a “work made for hire” or “work product” agreement for your employees or independent contractors? We negotiate and prepare copyright assignments, copyright licensing agreements, and other transactional documents related to copyright. We draft agreements so that non-lawyers can understand them.
Are you seeking advice about your rights under copyright laws in the United States and internationally? We advise our clients in the lacunae of copyright law, both domestic and internationally. Copyright is a highly complex area due primarily to the fact that the law evolved over many years?-?and especially in the last 30?-?through a hodge-podge of amendments, most of them politically driven, and court decisions. We are frequently asked by clients whether a given work is in the “public domain,” and therefore free to copy, commercialize, or alter without first obtaining permission from the author or artist. The answer is frequently not simple, as can be seen from this chart maintained by the Cornell University Library.
We also counsel our clients regarding “fair use,” a principle enshrined in the United States Copyright Act to protect certain activities such as parody, news reporting, and “transformational” uses in the fine arts, but which in fact has no bright lines or even consistent application. For example, a legal decision in one area of the arts will not necessarily carry over to another area. Recent case law regarding fine art has permitted substantial “appropriations” of copyrighted material to create new works. However, the same degree of taking in music, called “sampling,” can result in a finding of copyright infringement. This area of the law is continually changing.