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5 Copyright Landmines for Business Owners | New York Copyright Lawyer

It’s a sad fact, but most new business owners do not take the time to fully understand copyright law and how it can impact their business before it’s too late. Don’t wait until you have a problem to find out that you don’t truly own the business assets you thought you did.

Here are the top 5 copyright landmines that our South Carolina and New York copyright lawyers want you to know about:

  1. To enforce a copyright for your work, you must register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. With a registered copyright, you have the ability to sue in Federal Court for copyright infringement. The time of your registration is important if you take legal action against a potential infringer, so the sooner the better.
  2. Many times, it is hard to prove your actual damages in a copyright infringement suit. If the copyright is registered before the infringement, you are entitled to statutory damages, plus your attorney fees. Statutory damages range from $750 to $30,000 per infringement and can be increased to up to $150,000 per infringement if it is determined the infringer acted willfully. A registration provides you with leverage to get an infringer to cease their unauthorized use. Those stories you heard about large sums of money being owed from people who illegally download music are true!
  3. If you hire a contractor or employee, you must set up the relationship as “work for hire” in order to “own” any work they create on your behalf. It is critical to set up a legal contract before any work is produced and the work must qualify using one of nine enumerated types under the Copyright Act of 1976. Just because you paid another to design your logo or take photos for you does not in itself provide you with ownership in the underlying copyright, you must have a signed work for hire agreement.
  4. If you use photos, videos, music or any other artistic works on your website or in any material you or a third party creates for you it is essential that you ensure you have the rights to use such works in that manner of use. You must read the license agreement even if it is free of charge.
  5. If multiple people are contributing to a work, it is important to determine who owns what rights early on and it is critical to put that in writing! The default rules grant all parties equal rights.

Registering copyrights rights is a necessity for any business owner. For help protecting your business please contact our South Carolina and New York Copyright Lawyers at the Law Office of Jason H. Rosenblum, PLLC by calling (888) 666-0062.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.

 

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