We Handle Copyright Issues for Creative Professionals

Securing legal protection for your artistic works

Writers, filmmakers, musicians, painters, photographers and others who create unique forms of expression should receive the financial benefits of their work. Copyright law allows artists to put the world on notice that they reserve the rights to what they have created. At Benjamin Appelbaum Attorney at Law, we help you use copyright law to preserve your artistic integrity, ensure that you receive credit for your work, and protect your rights to its financial rewards.

Perfecting your copyrights

Copyright protection exists inherently the moment your creation appears in a tangible medium. Nevertheless, registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office can strengthen your legal rights by creating a public record of your claim and the date of creation. This can be crucial evidence if disputes later arise concerning who created a work.

Copyright protection generally applies to forms of creative expression preserved in some permanent medium, such as print, film or audio recording. Works that are eligible for copyright include:

  • Music
  • Lyrics
  • Drawings
  • Paintings
  • Photographs
  • Plays
  • Screenplays
  • Websites
  • Poems
  • Novels
  • Nonfiction works
  • Films

Some creations, such as computer programs, straddle the line between copyright and patent protection. While a copyright may prevent exact reproduction of your computer code, a patent may provide broader protection for the designs and processes it contains. A substantial body of Internet law is growing every day to address the complexities of defining and enforcing the intellectual property rights that technological advances have created.

A copyright of a printed process, formula, recipe or design protects only the words and pictures themselves, not the concepts they represent. That type of protection requires a patent. When you work with Benjamin Appelbaum Attorney at Law, we determine what type of IP protection is appropriate for your situation.

Distinguishing between copyright licensing and assignment

When creative professionals and small businesses lack the resources to effectively disseminate their intellectual property, they often involve third parties who can help turn creative expression into income. In the context of copyrights, however, it is important to understand the difference between a license and an assignment. A license is an agreement that gives the licensee limited rights to use your intellectual property in a specific way. For instance, an advertiser licenses your painting for use on a poster, or a movie studio licenses your song for use in a movie soundtrack. The licensee's rights are limited, and you still retain the intellectual property rights to your work. An assignment, on the other hand, is essentially the sale of all of your intellectual property rights to a buyer. You have no further rights to the work, and the buyer has all the same rights you had.

Consult an experienced copyright attorney

At Benjamin Appelbaum Attorney at Law, we develop a strategy for protecting your rights to any form of expression, including books, screenplays, photographs and musical scores. Call our New Jersey office at 877-649-6002 during normal business hours to schedule an appointment. You can also contact us onlineat any time. From our office in Flanders, we serve clients in Morris, Sussex, Warren counties, throughout New Jersey and nationwide.