Copyright Law

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. More specifically, we provide the following:

Copyright registration services

We can register your copyrights for you or guide you through the process.

Copyright litigation and pre-litigation services

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.

Copyright advice

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,” will likely result in a finding of copyright infringement.

Negotiation and contractual services

We negotiate and prepare copyright assignments, copyright licensing agreements, and other transactional documents related to copyright.