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Small-claims copyright court for US?

Small-claims copyright court for US?

“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries…” —United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 8. Owning a copyright can be a great fortune. The United States constitution provides for exclusive rights in writings, as expressed in copyright law (and discoveries under patent law), allowing an author to profit from his/her creativity. As the copyright owner, you exhibited a discipline and creativity that resulted in an original work that may ultimately benefit the public. Perhaps your work, whether literary, music, visual, multi-media, etc., captures the consumer fancy and you make money directly from it. If you are proactive and register your copyright at the U.S. Copyright Office, and then if if someone is devious enough to copy or distribute your work, or create a new work based on your original work, you may elect to challenge that alleged “bad actor” in federal court. Notwithstanding that a copyright vests in the author at the moment a work is fixed into a tangible medium, registration is recommended, because without a registration before the infringement occurred, one is not entitled to (1) statutory damages or (2) an award of attorney’s fees. Statutory damages allows a judge to make a monetary award from $750 to $30,000, as the court considers just. If the infringement is deemed willful, an award can be high as $150,000. The importance of having this option available is that the copyright owner does not have to prove actual damages. For example, damages might be the licensing fee you would...
Using copyright notice

Using copyright notice

A copyright notice symbol may be used for registered and unregistered works. (This is different from trademarks, where there is a distinction between the notice for registered marks and the notice for unregistered marks.) At a minimum, a notice should always be followed by a year designating when the work was completed and the name of the copyright holder. You can also add the text All rights reserved to communicate to viewers that before any reproduction is made of the materials identified by such copyright notice and attribution, permission should be sought from the designated owner. 2013. Copyright Owner Name. All rights reserved. Remember: The copyright holder is not necessarily the same as the author (though it may be). If an employee authored a work, the employer is the owner (copyright holder). If your company engaged a contractor to author a work for you (e.g., a manual, a graphic work, website or advertising copy, etc.), you will likely need a written agreement between your company and the contractor that expressly transfers the copyright. While I have your attention, I want to highlight several issues related to protecting your logo marks (your design marks as distinguished from your word marks): A Funny Thing Happened Along to Way to the World Series: The San Francisco Giants and MLB forgot to register the team’s logo mark, the script treatment of their SAN FRANCISCO mark, that appears on the players’ jerseys. Someone else did. Now MLB is dealing with a lawsuit to gain control! See http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2011/10/giants_trademark_san_francisco.php Think About Your App Logo Now: Protection for a pared-down logo to identify your company as the...
When campaign music infringes

When campaign music infringes

You may (or may not) know that I am somewhat of a political junkie and, as such, I have been avidly following the Republican and Democratic politics. And, when the music starts playing, as a copyright attorney, I always wonder whether the political campaign has obtained rights in the popular music they are playing. Just today, I was catching up with journals in the Intellectual Property field, and couldn’t help but notice some of the disputes that are rearing their ugly heads: Newt Gingrich got jammed up by Frankie Sullivan, a member of the rock band Survivor and his company Rude Music, for Newt’s unauthorized use of the song Eye of the Tiger. After President Obama’s campaign replayed Mitt Romney’s atrocious (that is fact, not political commentary) rendition of America The Beautiful in an ad, the Romney campaign ran ads including Obama’s rendition of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together. BMG Rights Management, who owns the latter song, challenged Romney and the ad was pulled. Romney has since been challenged for unauthorized use of the Silversun Pickups’ song Panic Room. And Paul Ryan has been challenged by Dee Snyder for Ryan’s unauthorized use of Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore. My personal favorite: The Eagles 2010 challenge of Joe Walsh’s use of the song Walk Away in his campaign for the House of Representatives to represent an Illinois district. Ironically, in Walsh’s 2012 reelection campaign, the famed Eagles guitarist has endorsed politician Tammy Duckworth, Joe Walsh’s opponent. Musician Joe Walsh even played for Duckworth at a concert this past July. My guess is the house came down when...