Copyright Law

Your creations are often your most valuable asset. Riley Pope & Laney copyright attorneys help you protect your intellectual property.

What is a copyright law?

Copyright law provides the owner of the copyright an exclusive right to legal protection of their creative work, fixed in a tangible medium of expression, published or unpublished. Copyright law protects original works of authorship including:
• literary works,
• musical works, including any accompanying words,
• dramatic works, including any accompanying music,
• pantomimes and choreographic works,
• pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works,
• motion pictures and other audiovisual works,
• sound recordings
• computer software
• architectural works

Do you have to register your creative work?

Although registration is not required, registering your work provides stronger protections. Copyright protection begins once you create something and that protection lasts for the creator’s life plus 70 years. Copyright law grants the owner exclusive rights to:
• reproduce the work
• distribute the work
• display or perform the work

Should you wish to bring legal action against someone for infringement of your work, you must first register your work with the U.S. Copyright office. It’s not enough to just be the creator of the work. Although ownership is implicit to the work’s creator, you can only file a lawsuit for copyright infringement against someone if you are the holder of a registered copyright. Registering your work is highly recommended in order to receive the maximum in legal protection, including the potential to recover your attorney’s fees.

Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents – what’s the difference?

Copyrights are different from trademarks and patents. A patent protects inventions. A trademark identifies a brand and can be a name, logo, design, slogan – even a color or a scent. A copyright generally protects artistic or literary works, including computer code.

What is copyright infringement?

Copyright infringement occurs when someone has copied your protected work. The infringer may be profiting from your hard work, time, creativity and expertise. Are you able to show that the possibly infringing work is substantially similar to your work that has been protected by copyright? Would the average observer find that the overall look and feel of the other work is the same as your work? If you find someone has copied your work, you may need our copyright infringement lawyers to intervene on your behalf. Sometimes the infringer may be stopped with a simple cease and desist letter, other times, litigation may be necessary. For copyright holders who have registered their copyright, attorney fees and treble damages may be available in successful litigation.

Who we are. How we can help.

Riley Pope & Laney’s intellectual property attorneys B.C. “Bill” Killough and Ernest B. “Lip” Lipscomb provide legal services, counseling and representation in the highly specialized and regulated areas of intellectual property law. With 90+ combined years working and teaching in this area of the law, they are able to provide effective representation in intellectual property matters, including copyright law.
Our attorneys are experienced in Federal Court litigation in all areas of intellectual property protection and defense throughout the country, at both the trial and appellate level. We look forward to assisting you with your intellectual property needs.

Other resources and related areas:
Intellectual property
Patent law
Trademark law
Business law
Civil litigation