Fayetteville, Arkansas Copyright Attorney

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Copyright is used to protect an individual’s or business’ creativity. A copyright begins protecting your work from the moment it is created. However, registering your copyright will allow you to assert a wider range of protections and rights. Preventing your work from copyright infringement should be a priority as a copyright owner. If you or an associate needs to know more about copyright protections, you should speak with an experienced Fayetteville copyright attorney.

At Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, our experienced copyright attorneys have extensive experience in copyright law. From registering a copyright to litigating a copyright infringement case, we understand how important it is to protect your creative work from being used illegally. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us at (479) 439-9840 or reach us online.

How to Create a Copyright in Arkansas

Under U.S. copyright law, your “original work of authorship” is protected by copyright once you affix it in a “tangible medium.” A tangible medium means your work can be written down or placed in a form that can be perceived in other ways. An original work of authorship is one that is created by a human author and one that exhibits a “minimal degree of creativity.”

If two or more authors are responsible for creating a single work of authorship, they will be considered joint authors, and will each have an indivisible interest in the original work. Alternatively, if a collective work is created by multiple authors, each author’s contributions will be divisible from the work as a whole. An example of this would be an anthology composed of several different poems.

Examples of original works that are copyrightable include:

  • Literary creations like novels
  • Musical works and musical notes or words used to perform the work
  • Paintings, sculptures, and graphic arts
  • Films and music created to accompany the film
  • Architectural works
  • Computer programs

This is not an exclusive list of works that are copyrightable. There are many other types of original works that are not listed above or that can fit into these broad categories.

There are several works that cannot be protected by copyright:

  • Ideas, discoveries, business methods, or concepts
  • Anything that is not translated to a tangible medium
  • Names, phrases, and slogans (these are typically covered by trademarks)
  • Ingredient lists

If you wish to know more about what protections copyright can offer, you should speak with an experienced Fayetteville intellectual property lawyer.

What Rights Do Copyright Owners Have?

As mentioned, copyright protections begin once your original work is recorded in a tangible medium. You are not legally required to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, but registering it will help if you need to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement.

Copyright registration puts the public on notice of your copyright claim and offers other advantages. For example, if your copyright is registered within five years of publication, the validity of your copyright will be presumed if it is challenged. Additionally, registering your copyright will allow you to seek statutory damages, attorneys’ fees, and other expenses if your copyright was infringed. Copyright registration also entitles you to protection from the importation of items that infringe on your copyright.

A copyright owner also has other exclusive rights:

  • The right to reproduce your work
  • The right to create derivative works based upon your original work
  • The right to sell copies of your work to members of the public
  • The right to rent, lease, or lend the ownership rights to your work
  • The right to perform your work publicly for financial gain
  • The right to display your work publicly, like a painting or sculpture

As long as the copyright was created on or after January 1, 1978, a copyright will last for the life of the author plus 70 years after the author passes away. If the work was created by multiple authors, then the copyright term will last for 70 years after the last surviving author passes away.

There is no easy way to protect your copyright internationally. However, depending on the laws of certain foreign countries, it is possible that your copyright can be protected under certain circumstances. Countries that have entered into international agreements with the United States may offer protection for U.S. copyrights, allowing you to protect your works in those countries as well.

Work with Our Fayetteville Copyright Lawyers

If you or a family member needs assistance with managing a copyright, you should speak with an experienced Fayetteville copyright lawyer. At Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, our attorneys are dedicated to providing you with personalized attention for all your copyright-related needs. Our firm serves individuals, families, and businesses from Fayetteville and across Northwest Arkansas, and we would be proud to represent you. To schedule your confidential consultation, contact us at (479) 439-9840 or reach us online.