IP Essentials: Q&A Series

Q Do I have to file/register for copyright protection? A No. The copyright of an original work of authorship vests in the author immediately upon creation unless transferred in writing. However, a registration might be beneficial if you plan to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement. Federal registration of copyright provides several benefits including the right to sue for infringement in a federal court, statutory damages, and, potentially, recovery of reasonable attorneys’ fees. Q What does the “©” signify? A Notice of copyright includes the familiar symbol “©” or the word “copyright,” the year of first publication of the work, and the name of the copyright owner. One does not need to register the copyright to use the symbol. Q What is a “work for hire”? A A “work for hire” is a work commissioned under a written agreement or one produced by an employee in the normal scope of employment (where the copyright vests in the employer). Independent contractors will retain ownership of copyrightable works unless there is an assignment in writing. Independent contractors are determined by a number of factors, including: the level of control in preparing the work, the degree of skill involved in creating the work, the duration of the relationship between the authors and employer, the amount of benefits and the tax treatment afforded to the author, and the possibility of additional projects.

A copyright is an original work of authorship that has been fixed in any tangible medium of expres- sion. Examples include: literary works, software, dra- matic works, music, lyrics, dances, pictures, sculptures, movies, sound recordings, and architectural works. A copyright includes a bundle of rights: reproduction, derivative works, distribution, performance, and public display. COPYRIGHTS



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