How Can I Protect Digital Media Content That I Created?
Having an online presence is an excellent way to increase your brand awareness and reach a bigger audience. Nonetheless, posting your digital media content online paves the way for others to steal or copy and benefit from your ideas. So, you must find ways to protect your content from copycats and retain its authenticity.
A legal procedure you can follow to protect your digital media content entails registering a copyright for your works. A copyright protection lawyer can take you through the process and what it entails and help you apply for copyright holder rights over your digital media content.
What is Copyright for Digital Media Content?
Copyright refers to a federal law that grants content creators exclusive rights to the content they create from their original ideas. Only they have the right to copy, sell, modify, or distribute whatever they create, but only for a limited time. In recreating new workpieces, creators and users must abide by copyright laws when handling digital media content.
Federal Copyright Law
Under Title 7 of the US Code sections 107 through 122, a copyright holder can do and authorize the following:
- Reproduce the copyrighted work in phone records or copies
- Prepare derivative works drawn from the copyrighted work
- Perform the copyrighted work publicly in the case of sound recordings using a digital audio transmission
- Publicly distribute copies of phone records of the copyrighted work through sale, rental, lending, lease, or other transfer of ownership.
- To publicly display copyrighted digital content in the case of literary, dramatic, musical, or choreographic works, pictorial graphics, pantomimes, or sculptural works such as individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work.
How Can I Register a Copyright in the United States?
Registering your creative digital media content is the only way to legally and fully protect it. While copyright laws were established long before the introduction of digital media, copyright protects digital content just as it protects works in more traditional media. A nationwide copyright lawyer in the US can help you determine if your type of content qualifies for copyright protection.
Rules About Protecting Digital Media Through Copyright
The following copyright guidelines apply to works in the form of digital media as they apply to other types of content:
- Only original authorship works are protected, meaning the work must show some amount of creativity and originality from the author
- The work must be stored or fixed in digital media that allows it to be reproduced, perceived, or otherwise communicated by itself or by using a machine to aid the process. A system or idea in your head does not qualify for protection by copyright
Requirements for Registering a Copyright for Digital Media Content
Registration of copyrights happens at the United States Copyright Office. You can hire a lawyer skilled in copyright law to help you ensure you handle the process right. They can assist you in determining how best to file your application and which application to file. The following three things that are required for registration:
- Deposit Copy: A non-returnable copy of your digital media content for which you wish to register a copyright. The copyright office provides details on the format of the copy and the submission methods (upload or physical) you can use.
- A nonrefundable filing fee for physical and online applications
- A completed application form which you can post by mail or submit online. In most cases, online applications have faster processing times, and the fees are lower
What is the Validity of Copyright Protection?
Your digital media content is subject to copyright protection as soon as you create and fix it in a tangible medium. Copyright laws provide that you don’t have to register a copyright or place a copyright notice on your work. However, there are benefits to registering your copyright, such as without registration in the US you cannot sue an infringer, it also provides leverage when sending a cease and desist, and you can obtain higher damage awards with a registration. The copyright lasts as long as you live and an additional 70 years after your death.
What Types of Media Content Can I Protect by Registering a Copyright?
Copyright lawyers advise content creators to register a copyright for their digital creative work to create a record of their copyright ownership. An experienced copyright lawyer can help you register a copyright for the following types of digital content:
- Digitally-created music
- Software solutions
- Recorded music and spoken words
- Motion pictures and digital video recordings
- Websites and the content therein
- Digital art
What Can I Do If I Discover That Someone Copied My Content?
Some people will still copy or misuse your digital media content despite registering a copyright. So, ensure you always use the copyright notice on digital platforms to add a layer of protection to your copyright. Use a watermark where you can. While it won’t stop copyright infringement, it will lower the rate at which it happens because it puts the law on your side. As noted above and in other posts, having a registration provides you with more leverage if you have to send an infringer a cease and desist.
According to copyright law in the United States, digital publication automatically grants legal protection. However, registering your work offers additional benefits, including increased damages, attorney fees, and the ability to sue in federal court. By registering your copyright, you have more leverage against an infringer. With the help of a skilled Intellectual Property attorney, you can take legal action against copyright infringers. Your lawyers can send a cease-and-desist letter to the offender and, if the infringement persists, file a lawsuit to demand damages and a court order that they cease the infringement. They can also assist you in assessing risks and exploring alternative options to address the misuse of your content.
A Reputable Copyright Law Office Helping You Protect Your Intellectual Property
Digital media content theft is not uncommon, but you can take steps to deter people from copying or stealing the content you create and publish online. One of the most effective ways is registering a copyright for your content. Doing so adds a layer of protection and gives you a legal ground to pursue action against copyright infringers.
Experienced copyright lawyers at our firm are passionate about helping clients protect their intellectual property. We help our clients identify the creative works that can be copyrighted and guide them through registering a copyright. If you have additional questions or need assistance with registering your trademark, contact our trademark attorneys at (888) 666-0062 or click here to schedule an Initial Discovery Session online. We are here to help you navigate the process and maximize your trademark protection.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.