Our Experienced Team of Business Attorneys Is Ready to Help You with Your Licensing and Copyrighting Needs
A copyright is an effective way to protect your original creative works and your right to profit from those creative works. Licensing is a practice that allows a copyright holder to grant limited usage rights to another party, typically for a fee. But copyright protection and licensing can be quite complex and if not done properly, you can miss out on profits.
Copyrights fall under a branch of business law that’s known as intellectual property law or IP law for short. In addition to copyrighting new works and licensing existing works, a copyright lawyer will also handle cases of infringement. Copyright infringement cases are not always straightforward, and there can be some debate about what constitutes “fair use.”
But this is where you can benefit from working with an experienced licensing and copyright attorney. At the Central Florida law offices of Sandman & Lankford, PLLC, you’ll work with two well-known IP and business attorneys, Lori J. Sandman and Melody Lankford. Our legal team is well-equipped to handle a broad range of cases, from copyright infringement and licensing, to patenting, trademark matters, trade secrets and unfair competition, non-disclosure agreements, business contracts, negotiation, arbitration, litigation and beyond.
If you are involved with a copyright matter, it may be in your best interest to resolve the matter through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Talk with one of our conflict resolution attorneys to decide if mediation, arbitration or a negotiated settlement could be an option.
Contact the elite team of business lawyers of Sandman & Lankford, PLLC, to discuss your needs in a confidential case consultation. Call our law office at 386-206-2898.
Common Questions and Concerns Surrounding Copyrighting and Licensing Copyrighted Materials
Copyright law can be complex and many who are seeking to get a copyright or license copyrighted materials have never done so before. Therefore, it can be useful to work with a top intellectual property lawyer who can answer your questions and address your concerns. Here’s a look at some of the most common questions our IP lawyers receive on this topic.
What Can You Copyright?
You can copyright lots of different creative works, providing you meet three criteria:
- Originality – The works must be original and unique;
- Fixation – The works must be fixed or “locked” in a permanent state; and
- Expression – The works must be an expression of an idea.
Copyrights can be used to protect items such as:
- written content, such as a book, website content or article;
- photographs and images;
- graphics and artistic works;
- music, including original lyrics, songs, and scores;
- a play or script;
- movies and films; and
- computer software programs.
It should be noted that copyrights cannot be used to protect an idea. For instance, you may have an idea for a storyline about a dog who digs up buried treasure. You cannot copyright that idea, but you can copyright an expression of that idea, such as a children’s book depicting the story or a short film depicting the story.
Additionally, copyright law (and trademark law) offer no protection to titles of individual works. What’s more, you cannot copyright a brief phrase or tagline, although it is possible to trademark certain phrases and taglines. For example, Nike has trademarked the phrase “Just Do It” as one of its branding elements.
What is Copyright Licensing?
Copyright licensing refers to the practice of granting permission to another party who wishes to use (and typically, profit) from your copyrighted works. An express license permits a third party to use copyrighted materials, while the original copyright holder maintains ownership rights to the creative works in question.
For example, let’s say you authored a short story and now, a publisher has offered to publish this short story in a compilation of inspiring stories. So, you might opt to grant a license to this publisher to use your short story in their compilation book.
In most cases, licensing involves the exchange of money, but this is not necessarily the case. For example, if you created a series of dog portraits and a local animal shelter asks for permission to use your portraits in a calendar that they’ll sell as part of a fundraiser, you might opt to grant a license to the animal shelter without charging a fee.
It’s also important to note that some limited uses of copyrighted materials fall under the realm of fair use.
What’s Considered Fair Use?
Fair use refers to a few, very specific uses of copyrighted works. Fair use doctrine applies to the following:
- Criticism or parody;
- News reporting; and
- Teaching or research.
When determining if a case involves fair use, additional points may be taken into consideration, such as the context/circumstances of the use, whether the works were used in part or in whole and whether there is an impact on the market value of the works.
If copyrighted works are reproduced without an express license and outside of the realm of fair use, you may have grounds for a copyright infringement claim. A civil claim can serve as a mechanism for recovering damages.
Our IP and Copyright Lawyers Will Help Protect Your Creative Works
An experienced copyright lawyer can prove to be an important ally for any creative who is seeking to protect their works.
Copyright licensing requires very specific licensing agreements that must be precise, non-ambiguous and specific in the permitted scope of usage.
In cases where you’re seeking to pursue someone who has committed copyright infringement or wish to proceed to litigation, you’ll need help from a very experienced intellectual property lawyer who can help you to determine if you have a viable claim. Copyright and IP laws are complex and there are many areas that require at least some degree of legal interpretation. So, you must work with a lawyer who has significant experience and knowledge in this area.
The law offices of Sandman & Lankford, PLLC was founded by Attorneys Lori J. Sandman and Melody Lankford, two very experienced business and IP attorneys who are prepared to assist with everything from copyrighting and patenting, to trademarks, trade secrets, business negotiations, contract matters, and addressing allegations of unfair competition.
So, if you are in Daytona Beach, FL or Berks County, PA and are in need help with a copyright law issue, a copyright infringement case or a copyright licensing matter, contact our experienced attorneys to discuss your case in a confidential consultation session.
You can reach the law offices of Sandman & Lankford, PLLC by calling 386-206-2898.