The copyright laws protect original works from unauthorized copying. Stinson helps companies and individuals register and protect traditional works of art, graphic designs, software modules, webpages, promotional materials, sound recordings, sculptures, literary works, motion pictures, instructional materials, fabric patterns, photographs, and building designs. We also represent producers and distributors of syndicated series, movies, and special broadcasts by TV stations in copyright royalty and enforcement matters involving cable and satellite delivery systems. We frequently help clients navigate the difficult world of online infringement take downs and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act safe harbor.
Copyrightable Subject Matter Advice
Our intellectual property attorneys counsel clients on the line between protectable works of authorship and unprotectable facts, ideas and methods. We also help clients deal with more blurry content areas such as data, websites, forms, software, and designs. We have a nationally recognized practice in open source software, which often involves the somewhat contradictory notion of “copyleft.”
Authorship & Ownership Issues
We also educate and counsel our clients on authorship, copyright notice, and ownership issues involving copyrights. We help clients assess whether a particular work is a “work for hire” and whether it may be a derivative work. This issue is particularly important in software and information technology industries where independent contractors are frequently hired and software code moves from project to project.
Copyright Registration Counseling
Our attorneys assist clients in evaluating the costs and benefits of registering works in their copyright portfolios. Although a registration is not needed to establish valid copyrights, a registration is required to initiate litigation and may enable the copyright owner to recover statutory damages and attorney fees after a successful lawsuit. However, registering every work eligible for copyright protection may not be practical, so we work with clients to develop a smart registration strategy.