If you’ve created an excellent new creative work, you want to protect your rights to it. If the work is not registered with the U.S Copyright office, you will not be able to sue for copyright infringement. Registration also makes your work searchable to the public in a database so that people in Tampa and around the world can find that the work is legally protected. Below are five useful things to know about copyright registration before you proceed.
1. Is Copyright Applicable in My Case?
To be copyrighted, a work generally must be of a literary, artistic, or musical nature. This standard encompasses things such as musical scores, video games, books, plays, poems, and paintings. It also applies to artistic performances recorded on a tangible medium, such as video or audio. If you make a recording of yourself singing a Mozart aria, the recording will fall under copyright law.
2. The Extent of Copyright Registration Protection
In the United States, a copyright lasts for the duration of the author’s life plus 70 years. Afterwards, the work goes into the public domain, and people will be able to use, reproduce, republish, or perform the work freely without asking for permission or paying royalties.
3. Works with More Than One Author
If you and a colleague team up to create Tampa! The Musical, the next hit Broadway show, you each will get a share of the rights to the work. If one of you dies before the other, the deceased person’s share of the rights will go to his or her heirs, rather than to the collaborator.
4. Fair Use and Its Extent
Let’s say a student loves the Tampa! musical so much that they decide to use it as the topic for their next school presentation. Under copyright law, they would be able to do so without any legal repercussions. Under the Fair Use Doctrine, in some cases, a person can quote or feature brief excerpts of a piece without needing to ask for the author’s permission. Such cases usually involve situations where the excerpts are used for educational, research, scholarship, news reporting, or parody purposes, or to comment on/criticize a piece of work. For more information on the specifics and nuances of Fair Use doctrine, one should consult an attorney who specializes in the laws of copyright registration.
5. Registration Timeframe in Tampa
You should ideally register your work within three months of its publication date. The best time to register, however, is shortly before the release. However, registering any time before a case of infringement would allow you to sue for statutory damages and collect attorneys’ fees.
Having copyright registration for your work will also protect your right to any benefits that result from the work. If you want to keep your masterpiece safe from infringement with a copyright registration, contact Larson and Larson in Tampa or simply call (813) 223-3226.