Lawrence G. Townsend Intellectual Property Lawyer
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On copyrights, and the many questions surrounding them

News and Notes Focused on the 3 Public Faces of IP Law

  • Brand Image Protection - Trademark Law
  • Visual Image Protection - Copyright Law
  • Personal Image Protection - Right of Publicity Law

The Image Protection Law blog has been created in order to share stories and information on the legal aspects of: 1) the marketplace reputation of a company or product captured in its trademark, 2) published or publicly-displayed artwork, photography, and any created visual design, and 3) use of a person's photograph or likeness for product promotion or other commercial purposes.

The "IP3" share at least one thing in common: Image is everything. In these posts let's look at what that means in the realm of intellectual property in the news, but let's also be prepared to explore if there's something more beyond "everything." Don't forget, the intellectual in "intellectual property" doesn't mean smart or brainy, although by nature true creators often are. The word is used to refer to any creation, i.e., a "product of the mind." While this blog will be regularly updated, you are encouraged to share your thoughts on these posts.

Whether you are trying to copyright one of your original works or you find yourself in the middle of a legal dispute over a copyright, the situation will likely be the same: you will have plenty of questions about how to handle your current predicament. With that in mind, let's talk about a few points related to copyrights and copyright law.

What "original works of authorship" can be copyrighted? There is a wide variety of original works that can be protected by a copyright, including literary works, musical scores, dramatic works, choreographed work, pictorial or sculpted works, graphic works and motion pictures, sound recordings, and even architectural drawings. 

What rights are granted by a copyright? When you are granted a copyright, you obtain the exclusive rights to reproduce the work or prepare derivative works; to distribute and sell the works as you please; and to display or perform the work (depending on its medium).

What is copyright infringement and what are the remedies to it? A copyright is infringed upon when the infringing party creates a work that is deemed "substantially similar" to the copyrighted work. However, the infringing party must have had an opportunity to see, hear, or observe the copyrighted work for copying to occur. The party with the copyright could seek a number of compensatory damages in return for the violating party's infringement, including any profits reaped by using their copied work. The party that holds the copyright could also seek an injunction against the infringing party.

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