Philadelphia Law: What is Copyright Infringement?
When you create something, you take pride in it. Whether it is something that you’ve written a piece of sculpture or painting, a photograph that you’ve taken or anything else that is a result of your own talent and ability, you take pride in it. A copyright gives you the opportunity to protect and own those things that you create; it makes sure that it belongs to you, and that you are the one who has the rights to control how it is distributed, displayed, performed or reproduced. When somebody violates those rights by copying your work, or even by creating something that is considered “substantially similar,” it is known as copyright infringement, and there are legal penalties that must be paid for that violation. Whether you have been accused of copyright infringement or have been the victim of it, the Philadelphia law firm of Bochetto & Lentz have the knowledge and experience to provide you with the legal representation that you need.
If you are the owner of a copyright, you have the right to exercise control over your work in a number of ways, including:
- The right to reproduce the work
- The right to derivative works
- The right to distribution
- The public performance right
The rules that protect copyrights do have some exceptions that provide the opportunity to avoid being accused of infringement, even if you have not obtained an assignment of rights or a license to use the material. These exceptions are:
- Fair use – for the purpose of teaching, reviewing, literary criticism, etc.
- Public domain – covers works no longer covered by copyright because the copyright has expired.
- Non-copyrightable works – these include facts and ideas. This does not include facts and ideas that have been compiled in a book.
The most effective method of protecting your work from copyright infringement is to register it with the U.S. Copyright Office. Having addressed this simple step will allow you to initiate a copyright infringement lawsuit immediately should somebody violate your rights. Following this step, it is strongly advised that you occasionally perform Google searches for blocks of your text or for your images.
Should you find that your rights of ownership have been violated, there are a number of actions that can be taken. At Bochetto & Lentz, we have extensive experience in representing artists, authors, developers and others who suspect that their work product has been copied. Copyright infringement is a form of intellectual property crime, and our knowledgeable attorneys will offer you the best chance of successfully pursuing and proving that infringement has taken place. We will help you identify who can be sued, investigate the profit that they made from the unauthorized use of your work, and help you to review all of your options in order to ensure that the actions you take are the best for you and that you are properly compensated. Call our Philadelphia law firm today to set up an appointment.
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