If you write books, produce movies, create music, or are involved in any other artistic endeavor, at some point you may hire a lawyer to protect what you have created. Your legal representation can make sure you receive the compensation you have worked so hard to generate. If you are part of the arts and entertainment field, your lawyer can ward against possible litigation or help you file a lawsuit against someone else if they violate your intellectual property rights, breach a contract, and more. Your lawyer can review contracts before signing to ensure your best interests are protected and advise you on contractual issues if they do arise. If you are in this industry, chances are at one point or another you may need the services of a lawyer. Situations where you may need to consult with a legal team may include:
- Someone has stolen your intellectual property
- You are negotiating the terms of a contract
- You are getting ready to sign a contract
- Someone is in violation of a contract
- You are working out distribution or publication rights
- Someone has filed a lawsuit against you for any of the above reasons
Your employment litigation lawyer should be available to provide you with guidance and advice concerning your rights and responsibilities of your business. You can anticipate that your legal team can assist with creating legally binding agreements, while explaining any documents they draft so that you fully understand their content.
The U.S. Copyright Office
One of the key responsibilities of your legal team is to help with copyright law infringements. According to the U.S. Copyright Office, the moment you create your music or write your book and put it in a tangible form, your copyright protection begins. In order to protect your creation, it is necessary to register the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. Your lawyer can process the information necessary to form the copyright and properly register it. The protection offered by having your work copyrighted are as follows:
- You have control to reproduce your work, adapt, arrange, or perform.
- You can display, sell copies, and distribute your work.
- You have the ability to license your work to others, giving them the right to do any of the above items.
How Long Copyright Lasts
Once you have copyright protection over your work, that protection extends for 70 years after you die. If there are more than one author, the 70 years extends from the death of the last surviving creator. If musicians write for LLCs or corporations, they are considered to be ‘working for hire’, thus giving the companies or LLCs ownership of the copyright for 95 years from the first time the music was published, or 120 years after it was written, whichever expires first. Unpublished work still qualifies for copyright protection. It is always a good idea to consult with a law firm, like Cohen & Cohen, to ensure even your future releases are protected from the very beginning.
Be Protected From the Start
If you truly want your creation to be protected, register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office. Your lawyer can oversee your registration so that this process is done timely and correctly. Don’t take the risk of not having your work protected. Your lawyer can focus on the legal aspects of your work and leave the creativity to you.