Intellectual Property | Copyright Infringement | Technology | Software

What are the “exclusive rights” of a copyright holder under 17 U.S.C. 106?

Jun 18th, 2016 | By | Category: Copyright Litigation

Copyright Law – Exclusive Rights Enjoyed by a Federal Copyright Holder!

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There are benefits to registering your creative works with the United States Copyright office.   17 U.S.C.. § 106 sets forth the rights a copyright holder enjoys which are some of the benefits of copyright protection.  This blog discusses these legal rights in general.

§ 106. Exclusive rights in copyrighted works

Whoever makes a “creative work fixed in a tangible medium of expression” is entitled to automatic copyright protection (SEE RIGHTS BELOW). However, this “automatic” protection is not the same as registering your copyrights with the U.S. Copyright office.  This is a formal registration that confers special benefits.

1.   Filing for copyright protection creates public notice of your copyright (you can use the copyright symbol on your creative works);

2.   Being registered is a pre-requisite for filing a federal lawsuit for infringement (this means, if you assert someone is infringing your songs, lyrics, poems, blog posts, podcasts, videos, films, or software you will want to be able to send the infringer formal registration number proving your protection).

3.   Attorney fees and statutory damages can be sought in a litigation if registration is made within 3 months of publication of the work (or anytime prior to infringement of your works).  If no registration, the owner of the creative work must prove “actual damages” which is not always an easy task.

4.  If copyright registration is made before or within 5 years of publication this will carry sufficient evidence concerning the validity of the copyright (and the facts stated in the copyright certificate) if the case ever goes to federal court.  This means, it will be much tougher for a Defendant to argue your copyright is not valid for this reason or that.

5. Registration allows the copyright holder to record the registration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office to help protect against the illegal importation of infringing copies of the creative works into the United States.  This means you get the government on your side.

These are all very good reasons to protect your creative works by paying the minimal fee to get registered.  If you are serious about your music, songs, films, lyrics, poems, podcasts, blogs, videos and other creative content, call us to discuss.  We can get you protected for CHEAP and we can help give you ideas to COMMERCIALIZE your works!  Most law firms don’t know the first thing about how to capitalize and exploit your ideas for PROFIT.  We do.  Call (877) 276-5084.

Exclusive rights of a fedreal copyright holder

As a copyright holder, you will be entitled a nice “bundle of rights.”  To start, here is what the federal code says:
“Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:
(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
(4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;
(5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and
(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.
As you can hopefully see, these are VERY POWERFUL LEGAL RIGHTS and frankly speaking, this is how MILLIONAIRES have been made.  We can help creative entrepreneurs manage their portfolios and license their works to maximize profits.

Can recipes be copyrighted?

This is not an easy question, but one case that addressed this legal issue was Hassett v. Hasselbeck, No. CV 14-14760-GAO, 2016 WL 1242530, at *5 (D. Mass. Mar. 29, 2016) which noted:

“Hassett next alleges that Hasselbeck copied her “recipes.” Although the sections that Hassett specified at the motion hearing do not contain recipes, Hasselbeck has noted that there are five recipes in the two texts that broadly overlap, including potato skins, chicken tenders, roast chicken, chicken broth, and meatballs. These dishes are not uncommon and the information Hassett conveys in them is purely functional. Hassett’s recipes comprise of lists of needed ingredients and directions for combining them; there is no expressive elaboration upon either. Without some “minimal level of creativity,” see CMM Cable Rep, 97 F.3d at 1519, Hassett’s cited recipes are not themselves copyrightable. See Publ’ns Int’l, Ltd. v. Meredith Corp., 88 F.3d 473, 480, 482 (7th Cir.1996) (finding recipes comprising only lists of required ingredients and directions for combining them as lacking “even a bare modicum of the creative expression—i.e., the originality—that is the ‘sine qua non of copyright”’ (quoting Feist, 499 U.S. at 345, 111 S.Ct. 1282)); TomaydoTomahhdo, LLC v. Vozary, 629 Fed.Appx. 658, 661 (6th Cir.2015) (finding recipes excluded from copyright protection where ingredients were mere factual statements and instructions were only functional directions); Lambing v. Godiva Chocolatier, 142 F.3d 434, at *1 (6th Cir.1998) (unpublished table decision) (same); see also Lorenzana v. S. Am. Rests. Corp., 799 F.3d 31, 34 (1st Cir.2015) (finding that a “recipe—or any instructions—listing the combination of chicken, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and mayonnaise on a bun to create a sandwich is quite plainly not a copyrightable work”); cf. Nat’l Nonwovens, Inc. v. Consumer Prods. Enters., Inc., 397 F.Supp.2d 245, 256 (D.Mass.2005) (instructions for boiling wool felt were purely functional without any stylistic flourishes or other forms of creative expression and therefore unprotected). Viewing the recipes as a whole does not change the analysis. See Nat’l Nonwovens, 397 F.Supp.2d at 256. The recipes generally are “functional directions for achieving a result” see Lambing, 142 F.3d 434, at *1, and consequently not protected under copyright law.
VIDEO:  Watch Attorney Steve (obviously a friday night version) discuss obtaining TRADEMARK PROTECTION FOR COCKTAILS!  We can also help with trademark protection, licensing and litigation.

Contact an IP law firm

To discuss your creative works with a United States Copyright Law Firm call us for a free initial consultation. We can help creators of the following types of works:
  • Music
  • Songs
  • Lyrics
  • Sheet music
  • Videos
  • Films
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs
  • Slogans (trademarks)
  • Social media phrases that catch fire
  • Software
  • Art
  • Illustrations
  • Poems
  • Books
  • Cartoon characters
  • Parodies
  • Paintings

Any type of creative work can be protected.  Call us at (877) 276-5084.  We offer a free initial consultation.  We can help you succeed!

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We are a business and civil litigation firm with a focus on copyright infringement cases involving illegal movie downloads (torrent cases such as London Has Fallen, ME2 Productions and Malibu Media defense), software audits (ex. Microsoft audits, SPLA, Autodesk audit notification letter, Siemens PLM defense, SIIA, Adobe and Business Software Alliance defense) and other software vendors threatening piracy and infringement. We also handle cases involving internet law, anti-SLAPP, media law, right of publicity, trademarks & domain name infringement, and we have a niche practice area handling California BRE licensing disputes, accusations, subpoena response, statement of issues and investigations. We have offices in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, San Diego & Phoenix, Arizona and accept federal copyright and trademark cases nationwide. All content on our website is general legal information only and not a substitute for legal advice, and should not be relied upon. Decisions to hire counsel should not be based on advertising alone. Blogs, videos and podcasts are authored by Steve Vondran, Esq. unless otherwise noted. We can be reached at (877) 276-5084.

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