Copyright Litigation

Copyright Litigation

Copyright law protects original works of authorship from being copied, distributed, or exhibited without permission from the owner.

Under Federal law and the Constitution, copyright owners have exclusive rights over their works. Copyright law protects creative works such as software, music, and literature. If someone uses your work without permission, they are violating your copyright. is experienced in copyright infringement litigation. Our firm can represent clients as plaintiffs seeking damages for direct infringement and defendants defending against infringement claims.

In copyright law, direct infringement occurs when a person, without authorization, reproduces, distributes, displays, or performs a copyrighted work or prepares a derivative based on a copyrighted work.  (See 17 U.S.C. § 106)

Copyrights are both Federal and State issues as sometimes State law can preempt Federal therefore, it’s possible it can get complicated.

Common in some countries but less so in the US (although becoming more important) are moral rights, which refer to rights created under notions of integrity and reputation and include the exclusive right to do derivative works and obtain publication rights for derivative works.

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Some Common Copyright Cases Involve the Following:

Video Games and Mobile Apps​

These are complicated by the fact that most development involves multiple parties (that hopefully are under contract).  The challenge comes when there is a dispute as to who owns the copyright – possibly on multiple characters or scenes and the user interface in mobile applications.  Tight contract terms are needed for both the offense and defense of copyright infringement.  We can help you navigate what IP rights should be secured.

Print Media / Social Media / The Internet​

Print media is the easiest from the standpoint of infringement and enforcement as this normally involves distribution and sales of the copyrighted material and then later unauthorized use versus fair use/parody.

Social media normally revolves around unauthorized use versus fair use/parody; however, it’s complicated by the fact that once it’s out there, it can be near impossible to retract.

The Internet – generally really hard if it’s widely distributed.  Takedown notices to an ISP (Internet Service Provider) are one approach if you can’t find the infringer information; however, it’s tempered under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act).  Another approach is to file a WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) domain name dispute if domain names are at issue, assuming the registrar is following the WIPO UDPR (Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy).

Sound Recordings

This area can get really complicated really fast. For example, there are performing rights, sound recording rights, reproduction rights, transmission rights, sheet music rights, etc. Plus, what happens if the composer is not the performer? Next, throw in the DPRA (Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act). Seriously, talk to an attorney before you lose any rights.
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