August 31, 2012

What Is a Copyright? Understanding Your Exclusive Rights.

As I've mentioned in previous shows on Copyright Law Radio a copyright and a work grants the owner of the copyright certain specific exclusive rights. “Exclusive rights” means that the copyright owner has control over their copyright protected work whether or not that's a photograph, an image, a piece of art, a book, some text. Whether or not it's a website, whether or not it's software code, or a variety of other items that fall within potential copyright protection.

My name is Copyright Law Attorney Enrico Schaefer, and today we want to talk a little bit more about the exclusive rights provided by the copyright law. So, the first important exclusive right that every copyright owner needs to understand is that you, as the copyright owner get to understand and determine and control who gets to make copies of your copyright protected work.

 

Welcome to Copyright Law Radio. We bring you the best in copyright news, legal advice and information.  From copyright infringement claims and defenses to threat letter issues, DMCA takedown notice letters, copyright licensing, and legal analysis of the latest copyright law cases, we have a copyright attorney who can answer your copyright questions.

As I've mentioned in previous shows on Copyright Law Radio a copyright and a work grants the owner of the copyright certain specific exclusive rights. “Exclusive rights” means that the copyright owner has control over their copyright protected work whether or not that's a photograph, an image, a piece of art, a book, some text. Whether or not it's a website, whether or not it's software code, or a variety of other items that fall within potential copyright protection.

My name is Copyright Law Attorney Enrico Schaefer, and today we want to talk a little bit more about the exclusive rights provided by the copyright law. So, the first important exclusive right that every copyright owner needs to understand is that you, as the copyright owner get to understand and determine and control who gets to make copies of your copyright protected work.

So, leaving aside the question of whether or not your work qualifies for copyright, i.e. what is a copyright, let's just talk for a minute about how you would control the use of that copyright. Let's say that you create a webpage that's got a specific design and text to it and you claim copyright protection to that website or webpage. You can control others and preclude others from basically scrapping your website and reposting that webpage in whole or in part onto their website. So, you get to control who makes copies of the copyright protected work.

You also get to control who makes derivative works based on the copyright protected work. You, as the copyright owner, under copyright law get to control who distributes copies of the work to the public. So, if it happens to be a book or a photograph or a piece of art, then you get to control who can sell those works, if anyone, whether through a distributor or otherwise.

Perhaps you want to be the exclusive person to sell your copyright protected work over the internet. You can do that. You can preclude others from trying to sell it on eBay or Amazon or some of these e-commerce sites where it's so easy for someone to grab something that you own, pretend that it's their own, and sell it to third parties.

You also get to control who gets to perform the work publicly if in fact it is a book or a play. You get to control how and who gets to display the copyright protected work publicly under copyright law and in certain instances you get to control how the copyright protected work is performed by means of a digital audio transmission.

So, in order to prove copyright infringement, that is that someone has violated your exclusive right to control your copyright protected work, you're going to have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence the defendant has violated one of your exclusive rights as a copyright owner under copyright law. Now, this is very important.

So, copyright infringement is really what you're trying to preclude. You're trying to stop someone from using your copyright protected work for their own purposes and for their own benefit. So, you need to have that exclusive right. You need to control that exclusive right. Okay? You should understand that certain types of copyrights lead themselves to certain exclusive rights.

So, for instance a script for a movie or a play, perhaps the most important exclusive right you're going to have is how that is performed publicly and making derivative works and making copies of those works. The other thing that I want to talk today is a little bit about legal ownership of your copyright, authorship, ownership, and licensing of the copyright protected work.

Again, to sue for copyright infringement under copyright law, a good copyright attorney is going to tell you that you must either be the legal or beneficial owner of the exclusive right under copyright law. Meaning that you're the copyright author, or by contract or license you have the right to use the exclusive rights that were originally within the copyright author.

So, the easiest one is if you're the author of the work the exclusive rights that we've just talked about get bound up with you. You get to control them. But in many instances the copyright author will license or contract with a third-party to allow them some limited or perhaps even in total rights under the exclusive rights provisions. So, if you have legally obtained some right to exercise control over the copyright then you potentially could sue for copyright infringement under copyright law.

So, if you're a beneficial owner of a copyright then you're going to have to prove that the person who authored the work transferred title to that particular exclusive right to you during the particular time at issue or the term. You will be able to establish the right to sue for infringement only if you prove by preponderance of the evidence that you are either the legal owner or beneficial owner of the copyright.

My name is Attorney Enrico Schaefer. I specialize in copyright law and copyright infringement issues. My law firm, Traverse Legal, specializes in internet and technology law which means that what we do is we help people who have copyright problems originating on the internet. That is to say that your copyrights are being exploited by someone else on a webpage or over the internet. I hope you learned something. We'll see you next time.

You’ve been listening to Copyright Law Radio, where copyright infringement, licensing, litigation, and news are always the topic of the day.  Whether you are a copyright attorney or a client, we are the number one resource for all your copyright questions.

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