Copyright Portfolio Management – Our Special Approach
Developing a Comprehensive Approach
It is important to develop a comprehensive approach to a portfolio of copyrightable works. First, it is necessary to ascertain what works have been created by the particular author or artist, who may no longer by alive. We work with the author, if still alive, or her heirs, and the publishers who may have certain rights in the copyrightable works to set up a structure that will be easy to work with in the years ahead.
Evaluating the Value of Copyrighted Works
Not all works of authorship are of equal value. We can help evaluate and estimate the present or estimated value of certain works, usually by working with experts in the field of intellectual property evaluation. This may have consequences for how a probate is administered, or it may have tax consequences. Often we develop a reciprocal relationship with the estate planning attorney to facilitate the handling of the estate and to act in the best interests of the heirs who are the future owners of the copyrights originally belonging to the testator or the trustor. Of course, we may also be called in around the time that the heirs become the owners of the copyrights in the testator/trustor’s works.
For any works in the US created or published after January, 1978, the works are created under the US Copyright Act from the moment the work is created or published, whether or not the work is registered at the US Copyright Office. However, there are significant advantages to registering the copyright in the work at the US Copyright Office. For example, if a work is registered within five years of publication, there is a presumption in a court of law that the copyright is valid, otherwise, there is no presumption and the copyright owner may be held to a higher standard in proving ownership or copyright validity. Another important advantage is that if the work is registered in advance of the infringement by someone else, when enforcing the copyright in the registered work in a court of law, the court may award attorneys fees to the copyright owner. Without a prior in time registration, it is impossible for the copyright owner to be awarded her attorneys fees related to the copyright infringement litigation.
We have many years of experience advising and assisting clients with registering their copyrights. We are enrolled with the electronic filing program at the Copyright Office. We are well-versed in the various categories of copyright applications and registrations for the different types of creative works and are able to provide important counseling to enable clients to maximize statutory protection as inexpensively as possible.
Terminating and Re-capturing Copyrights
Unbeknownst to many, the Copyright Act has special provisions that permit copyright owners who have assigned their rights to others, like big publishing companies, to terminate those assignments and thereby recapture the copyright rights that had been assigned. These provisions of the Copyright Act are not so straightforward. Failure to make the notification correctly to the holder by assignment of the copyright in a timely manner and precisely according to the Copyright law and the Copyright Office’s regulations will nullify an attempt to terminate and re-capture the copyright. We make sure that the procedure is done at the proper time and correctly.
Licensing Copyrighted Works
Navigating the world of licensing requires experience. We have assisted many clients in licensing their copyrighted works in order to maximize their return.
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