Copyright Law – Protecting your creative investment.

IMG_3272Copyright law protects music composers, artists, creative talents, architects, sculptors, and authors. Our firm has represented all of these client types both in securing the copyright registrations and also in lawsuits to enforce the rights.

In connection with the business end of artistry, copyrights serve to protect both the creative process as well as the financial investment into supplies, inventory, and retail sales. 

Copyrights protect expressions, encompassing more than music alone. Indeed, copyright protection extends to any work qualifying as an original “work of authorship.”  

This term includes just about any medium imaginable, ranging from books, films, and architectural designs, to numerous musical creations, such as sheet music and recorded songs. Congress used this term in an effort to include new creative forms as they emerged. Copyright protection also reaches beyond the original work itself, including subsequent compilations and derivative expressions.

Despite copyright law’s expansive reach, there is much that falls outside of its purview. Copyrights protect particular expressions, but do not guard underlying ideas. This is perhaps the most vital limitation, and one often overlooked. As such, others can draw from the underlying idea and craft his or her own twist on the original.  

In contrast, grounds for infringement emerge where one imitates a particular expression. In addition, copyrights do not protect works that have yet to be fixed in a tangible form of expression, such as a particular recording or a specific painting. 

Congress has provided a non-exclusive list of what “works of authorship” encompasses, including:
  • literary works;
  • musical works, including any accompanying words;
  • dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
  • pantomimes and choreographic works;
  • pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
  • motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
  • sound recordings; and
  • architectural works.

For a more complete discussion of copyright law in the context of music licensing and royalties, read this article below by clicking on the words in red font.

 Copyrights & Music Licensing