The US Copyright Office fees are set to increase tomorrow on May 1, 2014. This increase includes some changes to the $35 fee for a basic copyright registration. Currently, filing an online copyright registration for “an original work of authorship” via the US Copyright Office’s electronic filing system costs $35. As of May 1, 2014 this basic copyright registration will be divided into two new categories. Some basic copyright registrations will still cost $35 and some will cost $55. As of tomorrow, the $35 registration fee will be limited to apply only to works which have: a “single author, same claimant, [consist of] one work, not [a work] for hire.”
(Bargain hunters may want to take advantage of the lower fees today!)
image from US Copyright Office Website
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.
For more information see, the US Copyright Office website at www.copyright.gov, earlier blog posts on the topic of “copyright” at www.iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/c-o-p-y-r-i-g-h-t/ ; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.
Copyright vests automatically in an original work once it is ‘fixed’ in a tangible form. While copyright vests automatically, it can also be advantageous to register an original work for copyright registration with the US Copyright Office. Registering a work with the US Copyright Office is not a requirement but it can be beneficial for the following reasons:
- Registration with the US Copyright Office establishes a public record of the basic facts including ownership of an original work.
- Before an lawsuit may be filed against someone infringing your work, registration is necessary with the US Copyright Office for works of US origin.
- If registration is made within 3 months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.
- If registration is made within 5 years of publication of the work, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.
- Registration with the US Copyright Office allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the US Customs Service for protection against importation of infringing copies.
It is possible to file for US Copyright Registration at anytime within the life of the copyrighted work. Currently, it only costs $35 to file an application with the US Copyright Office for registration.
The term of copyright protection for a work created on or after January 1, 1978 is for the life of the author plus 70 years (or if a work is made for hire the term of copyright protection is 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever expires first.)
Wishing all of you reading this post a Happy New Year! Starting off the new year with a reminder that all your original creative content that is written down, drawn, painted, recorded, sculpted or otherwise fixed… is automatically vested with copyright feels auspicious. As detailed above, taking the extra step to register your work with the US Copyright Office can be beneficial.
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.
For more information see, Circular 1, Copyright Basics; Circular 15A, Duration of Copyright. and all the information circulars and fact sheets available at the US Copyright Office website: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/; and also an earlier post “Copyright Protection Only Costs $35“; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.
The exact amount that Chrysler has paid to TATS Cru, the Bronx based graffiti artist, for use of their mural in a Fiat commercial hasn’t been disclosed… although I applaud the two sides for coming to an agreement.
Is a Graffiti Mural protected by copyright? YES, YES, YES!! All it takes is ORIGINALITY to qualify for copyright protection… and in this instance there wasn’t any question about the mural being original.
Should Chrysler have known that the mural was protected by copyright? YES, YES, YES!! Because, there is a copyright notice painted into the lower right hand corner of the mural: “©2010 TATS Cru” (I applaud TATS Cru for being diligent and including the copyright notice). Even if there hadn’t been a copyright notice on the mural it still has copyright protection and Chrysler should have done some research. The exact reason that Chrysler included the mural in their commercial (to give authenticity as to the commercial which features JLo in the Bronx singing about strength while driving through the neighborhood where she grew up) should have been a HUGE indicator that the mural is original and covered by copyright protection. IT’S NO EXCUSE “not to know” a work is covered by copyright protection. Using a copyright protected work without permission is copyright infringement – and ignoring a copyright notice on a work is even worse. Both are illegal… and ignoring a copyright notice can triple the damages owed.
What do you do if your copyright is infringed? In this case, TATS Cru reached out to Fiat/Chrysler via their lawyer and reached a settlement. The exact amount that TATS Cru was paid hasn’t been disclosed, although both parties have announced that they are excited to be collaborating. As part of the deal that was struck… a Fiat has been given to TATS Cru to paint and auction off to a charity of their choice.
I ❤ the Bronx, too! A lot can be learned about the art of making a deal in the Bronx!
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.
For more information: http://tatscru.net/commercial. The mural is located at 1156 E. 165th St. in the Bronx. Watch the commercial – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deNRiBQiQ3Q. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/28/in-the-bronx-a-collision-of-cars-celebrity-and-copyright/; http://latino.foxnews.com; http://www.nypost.com; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.
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