After creating an original composition or artistic work, you must protect it from infringement. Copyright laws provide creators exclusive control and protection over their works’ distribution and use. Someone using your creation without your consent may have committed copyright infringement. Find out what steps you can take if someone has illegally used or distributed your work. 

The Basics of Copyrights

Under the law, copyright grants creators the exclusive right to control how their original works are used, distributed, or reproduced. These laws ensure the creators are fairly compensated for their work. 

Copyright protections can be applied to a wide range of works, such as:

  • Musical compositions
  • Literary and dramatic works
  • Pictures and audiovisuals
  • Choreographic works

These protections may also extend to architectural designs, computer software, and other original works. 

When you have a copyright of an original work, you have the exclusive right to:

  • Reproduce the work
  • Distribute copies of the work to the public
  • Create adaptations or derivative works based on the original piece
  • Publicly perform or display the work

Copyright owners also have the authority to license their work to others, allowing those individuals to use it under specific conditions, such as for a limited time or in a particular format.

What happens when someone or a company uses your work without permission? That is known as copyright infringement.

What Is Copyright Infringement?

Copyright infringement occurs when someone uses, copies, or distributes a copyrighted work without the copyright owner’s permission or outside the terms of a licensing agreement. These actions include reproducing, publicly displaying, distributing, or creating derivative compositions from your work.

Any unauthorized use of your work can lead to legal consequences for the other person or company. If your work is protected, you have a few legal options to stop the party from infringing on your creative composition. 

What Steps Can I Take to Protect My Creative Works?

As a creator, consider taking the following actions to protect your creative works from infringement.

  • Registering your copyright with the appropriate government agency is important in protecting your creation. With this registration, you have a public record of your ownership of the work.
  • Marking your works with the copyright symbol (©) along with your name and the year of creation shows others that the work is protected under copyright law.
  • Consider regularly monitoring your works for potential infringement. With that, you can look for signs of unauthorized use and take action before significant damage occurs. 
  • If you identify an infringement of your work, sending a cease-and-desist letter to the infringer can be an effective way to stop the illegal action. This letter is a formal notice demanding the infringer stop using your work.

If the infringement continues, you may need to consider legal action. Filing a lawsuit can provide you with legal remedies to stop the infringing person or company from using your work without proper authorization.

We Can Help With Protect Your Creative Works

BOAG Law can assist with all things IP. We help clients with patent and trademark applications, copyright registrations, license agreements, cease-and-desist letters, and litigation. We offer fixed fee billing for most intellectual property work, so you know what to expect. If you want to learn more about how we can help, please contact us online or call 212-203-6651 for a free consultation.