Experienced California Law Firm Helps Artists with Copyright Issues

Beverly Hills legal team protects artists and their work

Once a creator puts a concept into a tangible form, that work automatically gains federal copyright protection. The creator enjoys the exclusive right to print, sell, copy, license, distribute and use the work. Unfortunately, infringement of copyright happens all the time, and creators can easily be victimized unless they take affirmative steps to protect their works. At The Kernan Law Firm, APC, we serve artists in the Beverly Hills area and throughout California by helping to protect their work through copyright registration. We defend creators’ copyrights against infringement and help creators monetize their work through licensing agreements.

Dedicated attorneys assist creators of various types of copyrightable art

Essentially any type of art produced in a tangible form can be copyrighted. We handle copyright issues for artists’ creations in all types of media, including:

  • Books, stories and poems
  • Musical compositions
  • Dramatic works
  • Screenplays
  • Newspaper and magazine articles
  • Maps
  • Sculptures
  • Technical drawings
  • Photographs
  • Movies
  • Computer programs

However, there are limits. For example, a writer cannot copyright a title to a work.

Legal advocates advise on copyright registration

Copyright attaches automatically at the moment of creation, so a creator immediately has enforceable rights. Unfortunately, those rights are only enforceable through the common law, which requires the creator to prove actual damages. Because it is very hard to prove how the reproduction of a photograph (or other artistic work) actually harmed the artist, suits for common law infringement are rarely effective, unless the infringer has made a substantial amount of money from his illicit use of the work. For example, lawsuits alleging plagiarism of the tune for a hit song or the plot of a hit movie can recover substantial damages.

In most cases, a creator is not fully protected unless the work has been registered formally with the U.S. Copyright Office. Registration allows the creator to sue for statutory damages which generally fall between $750 and $30,000 per work, at the discretion of the court. In cases of willful infringement, a plaintiff may be entitled to as much as $150,000 per work.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) provides additional protections for infringements on the internet and empowers creators to demand that internet service providers remove access to infringing materials. With the creation of new virtual worlds on the Internet, new legal issues are arising. Our firm keeps current with emerging law, so you have optimal protection.

For work created after 1978, the U.S. Copyright Office grants copyright for the full extent of an author’s or creator’s life plus 50 years. Copyright is recognized by many countries through the Universal Copyright Convention, so your protection extends internationally.

Accomplished California firm handles licensing agreements

When a creator wants to license a work for use, our firm negotiates licensing agreements that protect the creator’s rights and enable a reasonable return. If another person or company attempts to infringe upon your copyright, we pursue all available legal remedies. Our attorneys first demand that the infringer cease and desist unauthorized actions. However, often the most beneficial resolution is for the creator and the infringer to enter into a licensing agreement. This allows the creator to monetize the work and the infringer to escape onerous penalties.

Contact our meticulous California intellectual property attorneys

At The Kernan Law Firm, APC in Beverly Hills, our team of copyright lawyers is dedicated to helping artists protect their creative works. Call 310-905-6684 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our office.