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FEDERAL COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION
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Our goal is to provide each of our clients with as much information as possible about federal copyright registration. As you will see as you review the following material, there is a lot of information to digest and consider. Many legal aspects may be complex and confusing. We want you to know we are available to speak with you about any legal aspects of the formation of your Corporation at your convenience either over the telephone or in person at the Spiegel and Utrera, P.A., office nearest you.
LET US USE OUR LEGAL KNOWLEDGE TO PROTECT YOUR LITERARY, DRAMATIC, MUSICAL OR ARTISTIC WORKS FROM COPYCATS—IT’S EASY!
You went through the grueling creative process and created a masterpiece. Don’t let others steal your artistic vision! Spiegel & Utrera, P.A., has helped numerous clients to register their federal copyright with the U.S. Government. Allow Spiegel & Utrera, P.A. to use its legal understanding to ease you through the federal copyright registration process.
However, there is an exception for Works Made for Hire, because it is the employer and not the employee is considered to be the author. A work made for hire is a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment; or a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as:
A contribution to a collective work
A part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work
A supplementary work
An instructional text
Answer material for a test
Generally, if there is more than one author the authors of the are co-owners of the federal copyright in the work, unless there is an agreement to the contrary.
Just like with articles in a magazine, federal copyright in each separate contribution to a periodical or other collective work is distinct from federal copyright in the collective work as a whole and vests initially with the author of the contribution, (i.e., each author owns their own magazine article).
This protection is available for both published and unpublished works. The 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of the federal copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize other to do the following:
To reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phono records
To prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work
To distribute copies or phono records of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease or lending
To perform the copyrighted work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work.
In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission
Ultimately, federal copyright registration protects the owner/creator from other taking credit for and reaping profits from their achievements.
Who May Register A Federal Copyright? Top of Page The author of a work, a person or entity that has obtained ownership of some or all of the rights of the author, such as a transferee, employer or heir of a decedent author or an agent of one the preceding persons or entities.
What About Entity Ownership of a Copyright for Asset Protection? Top of Page It is permitted, if not desirable. An individual creator and owner of intellectual property such as copyrighted material may want to form a company to manufacture, promote and sell goods in connection with the intellectual property, but the intellectual property is transferred to be owned by its own, separate and independent business entity that leases or grants rights to the company that is doing the manufacturing, promoting and selling. That way, the intellectual property cannot be jeopardized by the liabilities associated with the business operations of the manufacturing and sales entity. Thus, for asset protection purposes, you may want a corporation, limited liability company, or revocable or irrevocable trust to be the author or owner of a copyrighted work.
What Works are Protected by a Federal Copyright?Top of Page Federal copyright law protects "original works of authorship" that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. The fixation need not be directly perceptible so long as it may be communicated with the aid of a machine or device. Copyrightable works include the following categories:
What Is Not Protected by Federal Copyright? Top of Page Several types of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include:
Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (for example, choreographic works that have not been notated or recorded, or improvisational speeches or performances that have not been written or recorded)
Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents
Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration
Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources).
How Long Does the Federal Copyright Last? Top of Page A federal copyright lasts for an initial term of 28 years from the date it was secured, then there’s a renewal term of 67 years for a total term of protection of 95 years.
How Do I Transfer My Federal Copyright?Top of Page All or part of the federal copyright owner’s exclusive rights or any subdivision of those rights may be transferred, but the transfer of exclusive rights (i.e., the person to whom it is being transferred gets all of the rights) is not valid unless that transfer is in writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed or such owner’s duly authorized agent. Transfer of a right on a nonexclusive basis (i.e., the person to whom it is being transferred may have to share rights with others) does not require a written agreement, but it’s always a good idea to do so to forestall disputes.
A federal copyright may also be conveyed by operation of law, such as by will or by intestate succession to the heirs by state law in the absence of a will.
Transfers of federal copyright are normally made by contract. The law does provide for the recordation of transfers of federal copyright ownership with the U.S. Government. Although recordation is not required to make a valid transfer between the parties, it does provide certain legal advantages and may be required to validate the transfer as against third parties. A federal copyright owner can terminate a transfer after 35 years under certain conditions by serving written notice on the transferee within certain time limits.
What is the Public Domain? Top of Page Works that are not protected by federal copyright are in the public domain. Usually it is because the maximum federal copyright duration has lapsed, for example, all works first published in the United States prior to 1923 are in the public domain in the United States, as are works published between 1923 and 1963 on which federal copyright registrations were not renewed. Also, generic information, such as facts, numbers and ideas, works where the federal copyright holder failed to renew a registration (for a work created before 1978), works created prior to March 1989 that failed to include a proper notice of federal copyright, works created by the U.S. Government and donated to the public domain.
What is Fair Use? Top of Page Fair use is the concept that certain types of use of federal copyright protected works do not require the federal copyright holder's authorization because the use is minimal enough that it does not interfere with the federal copyright holder's exclusive rights to reproduce and otherwise reuse the work.
Fair use is primarily designed to allow the use of the federal copyright protected work for commentary, parody, news reporting, research and education. However, fair use is not an exception to federal copyright compliance so much as it is a "legal defense." That is, if you use a federal copyright protected work and the federal copyright owner claims federal copyright infringement, you may be able to assert a defense of fair use, which you would then have to prove it in court.
Federal law describes four factors to determine when content usage may be considered "fair use":
The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit, educational purposes;
The nature of the copyrighted work; i.e., whether it is of a factual nature or of a creative nature;
The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the federal copyright protected work as a whole; and
The effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the federal copyright protected work; i.e., whether the use is in competition with the federal copyright holder or could be in competition.
Photocopying in a business environment probably would not be considered fair use because it typically involves licensing by the federal copyright owner. On the other hand, a parody might be considered fair use and a federal copyright owner usually wouldn’t denigrate their property.
Quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment;
Quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work for illustration or clarification of the author's observations;
Reproduction of material for classroom use where the reproduction was unexpected and spontaneous–for example, where an article in the morning's paper is directly relevant to that day's class topic.
Use in a parody of short portions of the work itself; and
A summary of an address or article, which may include quotations of short passages of the copyrighted work.
What is the First Sale Doctrine?Top of Page The buying a tangible, copyrighted good, such as a book or a CD, is not the same as owning the intangible intellectual property and the copyright to the work embodied in that good, so that reproducing the material, publicly displaying or performing it, or otherwise engaging in any of the acts reserved for the federal copyright holder, because the transfer of the physical good does not include transfer of the federal copyright rights to it.
What are Trade Secrets? How Do I Protect Them? Top of Page Trade Secrets are information, such as a formula, pattern, compilation, program device, method, technique, or process, that derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use, and is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy. You protect your trade secrets by not disclosing them. You will want to federal copyright materials that contain trade secrets. The way to keep them secret is by insuring that your federal copyright registration does not require full disclosure, or that there is only partial disclosure. Here are the categories of items that do not require full disclosure, or that require partial disclosure. Click Here If your copyrighted work contains trade secrets or confidential information and isn’t exempted from public disclosure, you may petition for relief.
Also, you will want to make sure potential competitor, such as manufacturers of your item or employees, sign a non-disclosure, non-circumvention and confidentiality agreement and a non-competition agreement.
What is Federal Copyright Infringement?Top of Page A federal copyright is infringed when another person or entity reproduces the work of the owner of the copyrighted material without the owner's permission. There is no set standard regarding how much of a work can be taken without constituting copyright infringement. However, with a registered federal copyright the owner of the registration has a substantial advantage should a legal situation arise surrounding the copyrighted material.
Federal Copyright Registration Let Spiegel & Utrera, P.A. register your federal copyright with the U.S. Government. Federal copyright Registration is $289.95 plus Government filing fees of $45.
Federal Trade Secret Copyright Copyrighted works may contain trade secrets or confidential information. In such a circumstance, a federal copyright owner definitely does not want to make their work available for full public disclosure. There are exemptions where there is no public disclosure or a partial public disclosure of the work so that trade secrecy is maintained. Let Spiegel & Utrera, P.A. protect your trade secrets by registering your federal copyright with the U.S. Government. Federal copyright Registration with Trade Secrets Protection is $474.95 plus Government filing fees of $200.
Special Relief from Full Disclosure If your copyrighted work contains trade secrets or confidential information and isn’t exempted from public disclosure, you may petition for relief. Let Spiegel & Utrera, P.A. protect your trade secrets by registering your federal copyright with the U.S. Government and petitioning for an exemption from full disclosure. Federal Copyright Registration with Trade Secrets Protection which requires a petition for relief is $674.95 plus Government filing fees of $200.
Non-Disclosure, Non-Circumvention and Confidentiality Agreement You’ve got a great idea to pitch, but you don’t want the other guy to run off and steal your idea and keep all the money to himself. Also, you want to make sure he doesn’t skip you and go straight to the manufacturer or the customer. You want to make sure he doesn’t spill the beans with a Non-Disclosure, Non-Circumvention and Confidentiality Agreement. If he breaches, he pays. Let us help you by drafting this important agreement for you for $367.95 if when ordered at the time of ordering a federal copyright registration.
Non-Competition Agreement You’ve built up your business from scratch and you don’t want others stealing it out from under you by grabbing your customers, vendors or employees. Let us help you by drafting this important agreement for you for $367.95 if when ordered at the time of ordering a federal copyright registration.
Trademark can be registered at the Federal and or State Level. The type of trademark you register will determine how much protection you receive.
Federal Trademark or Servicemark Registration Let Spiegel & Utrera, P.A. register your trademark or servicemark with the U.S. Government. U.S. Government filing fees are not included. Trademark Registration without a logo or design is $119.95 plus filing fees. Trademark Registration with a logo or design is $169.95 plus filing fees. All fees are for a single class, each additional class is $75 plus filing fee. For a list containing the Schedule of Classes and Goods click here. All fees include Spiegel & Utrera, P.A. as your attorney for filing your trademark application. In the event agency action is necessary, Spiegel & Utrera, P.A. stands ready to assist you in completing the registration process.
Federal Trademark or Servicemark Search and Attorney Opinion A search of the United States Government's records including Marks that have been registered and are currently pending registration and an opinion as to the results of the search. Up to 3 words - $275. More than 3 words would be $50 per additional word.
State Trademark or Servicemark Search and Attorney Opinion The state search includes a thorough examination of trademarks registered in a particular state and an opinion as to the results of the search. The price for a trademark search is $99.95 per State for up to three words. More than 3 words would be $50 per additional word per state.
Common Law Trademark Search and Attorney Opinion Search includes Marks that are in use but may not be registered with the United States Government and an opinion as to the results of the search. The results of a Common Law Search can be very important because whoever uses a Mark first generally has a superior right to the name - $250.
Combo Search and Attorney Opinion Combo search includes the U.S. Government, one State and Common Law search and an opinion as to the results of the search. This assures the most comprehensive investigation. The Mark must only consist of up to three words - $524.95. You receive a savings of $100 by ordering these searches now. More than 3 words would be $50 per additional word per state. Additional states are $50 per state.
Registering your Trademark or Servicemark with the U.S. Government will prevent copycats from confusing customers and damaging your reputation. Spiegel & Utrera, P.A., has helped numerous clients to register their Trademarks and Servicemarks. Allow Spiegel & Utrera, P.A. to use its legal understanding to ease you through the trademark or servicemark registration process.
Federal Copyright Licensing Agreement You will want to protect your valuable intellectual property with a licensing agreement. Typically, there are two arrangements involving a licensing agreement. The first situation, let’s call it the Liability Isolation Arrangement, is where the individual creator and owner of intellectual property forms a company to manufacture, promote and sell goods in connection with the intellectual property, but the intellectual property is transferred to be owned by its own, separate and independent business entity that leases or grants rights to the company that is doing the manufacturing, promoting and selling. That way, the intellectual property cannot be jeopardized by the liabilities associated with the business operations of the manufacturing and sales entity. In the second situation, let’s call it the Successful Producer Arrangement, a company is so successful, outsiders are interested in promoting and selling the products and the intellectual property connected with them, so that they want the opportunity to sell in a given area. You will be interested in learning about the exciting and fast-growing area of marketing and brand extension.
In the licensing agreement, the Licensor (person who owns the rights to the work) grants to the Licensee the exclusive, personal and nontransferable right to the work. For example, a license could be specifically limited to one outlet (store) in a particular geographic territory and the Licensee may only use the work in connection with the sale and distribution of a particular product(s), and Licensee may not represent that it has any ownership right in the work. In exchange for the license, Licensee pays to the Licensor a fee, which typically involves a “per unit” royalty, but the parties may agree on other fee arrangements. The agreement should designate the authority to determine the mode and method of advertising, merchandising, promoting, manufacturing, selling, and distributing of the intellectual property and the products associated with it. Also, who has authority to fix the prices, discounts, and terms of sale, whether for consumers, dealers, distributors, wholesale or retail. Furthermore, you will want to protect the intellectual property with restrictive covenants that afford the Licensor statutory remedies for violation and often prevent the Licensee from disclosing confidential business information about the Licensor with others. We can prepare the licensing agreement for only $350 when ordered with your federal copyright registration.
Federal Copyright Transfer and Assignment Agreement If you need to transfer exclusive ownership of your intellectual property to someone, such as your children or a business entity, Spiegel & Utrera, P.A. can draft the federal copyright transfer agreement for you. We can prepare the federal copyright transfer agreement for only $350 when ordered with your federal copyright registration.
Let Spiegel & Utrera, P.A., help you grow your business! Our firm has what we call the "General Counsel Club". Select this valuable service at the time of ordering your federal copyright registration and receive an additional one month Bonus – so that your first year of service will cover 13 months PLUS take a $50 discount, so you pay only $89.95 for the first 13 months of service. You get unlimited telephone consultations all year long on all your legal and strategic business advice, you will receive our firm’s newsletter, "Entrepreneur’s Alert®,” which is published six times a year and provides valuable insight into running your business from a legal and business point of view and you will be able to run a classified advertisement on the firm’s website for the first year of membership.
Detours and Contradictions Want more out of your business? Then don’t miss Lawrence Spiegel’s, 223 page Detours and Contradictions. Use this book, and all your available resources, to begin the challenging yet fulfilling journey of entrepreneurship. As we’ll see... having a marketable idea is only the first step in a lengthy process. Along the way you’ll encounter numerous detours and contradictions, risks and rewards. The price of Detours and Contradictions is just $13.50 if you order when ordering your federal copyright registration. PLUS there is no extra charge for shipping, handling and processing as your book will be shipped with your company. Also, as an added bonus, your copy of Detours and Contradictions will be personally autographed by Lawrence J. Spiegel.
Charlie's Entrepreneurial Journey Building your business, or selecting the type of business to start, is easy when using Charlie’s Entrepreneurial Journey as a guide and applying Lawrence J. Spiegel’s thirty eight "Principles of Entrepreneurship" to your business. Spiegel’s latest book provides 416 pages of insight into the world of an aspiring entrepreneur named Charlie. Charlie’s journey leads him through topics never discussed in business books but essential to success. Topics include: costs associated with Acquiring a Customer, Urgency to Purchase, Saturation Advertising, Success Leaves Tracks and Repetitive Business. Spiegel’s "Principles of Entrepreneurship" cannot be found anywhere else. In fact, no one has ever exposed the business secrets Spiegel discloses. If you are seeking to spark your business you will find an EXPLOSION in this book. Order this book at the time of ordering your federal copyright registration and you will get Charlie’s Entrepreneurial Journey for $19.50 which includes shipping, handling and processing, when ordered with your federal copyright registration. PLUS Lawrence J. Spiegel will personally autograph your copy of Charlie’s Entrepreneurial Journey.
PROCESSING, HANDLING AND SHIPPING INFORMATION Charges will be incurred depending on the weight of the Federal Copyrighted material. Federal Copyright Registration Packages that weigh up to 2 pounds will incur processing, shipping and handling charges of $17.95; packages weighing over 2 pounds but not greater than 5 pounds will incur processing, shipping and handling charges of $27.95; packages weighing over 5 pounds but not greater than 10 pounds will incur processing, shipping and handling charges of $32.95. Processing, shipping and handling charges for Federal Copyright Registration Packages over 10 pounds in weight will be determined on an individual basis.
SPEED OF SERVICE OPTIONS
Next Business Day Service If you need your Federal Copyright urgently, for an additional $150, we will expedite the preparation of Federal Copyright registration documents and the Federal Copyright registration documents will be ready the next business day, after receipt of payment.
3 Business Day Service If you need to register your Federal Copyright fast, we offer a 3 Business Day Service for an additional $75. We will expedite the preparation of the Federal Copyright registration documents and they will be ready in 3 business days, after receipt of payment.
Regular Priority Service Your order will be marked for special handling, a member of the staff will be assigned to actively monitor the status of your Federal Copyright, and your documents will be hand-delivered to you (if requested by you, your signature will be required upon receipt) to insure confidentiality via Federal Express, U.P.S. or other delivery service or electronic mail. The preparation and processing time for regular priority service for your Federal Copyright registration documents is approximately two weeks after receipt of payment.
Orders received after 3:30 pm Eastern Time will be processed the following business day.
Material presented on AmeriLawyer.com is intended for information purposes only. It is not intended as professional advice and should not be construed as such. The U.S. Treasury Department requires us to inform you than any information obtained from this website is not intended or written by our law firm to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding any penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code. Advice from our firm relating to Federal tax matters may not be used in promoting, marketing or recommending any entity, investment plan or arrangement to any taxpayer.