Ownership of copyrights can be a very significant issue, and the law in this area is often misunderstood.
Copyright grants and protects a number of exclusive rights, including the right to reproduce or display all or any substantial part of a work, including artistic works, musical works, dramatic works, literary works and new media content. For information technology companies, or those companies dealing with information technology, copyright is relevant with respect to software, digital content, such as the content of websites, and compilations of data, such as databases.
Ownership of copyrights can be a significant issue and the law in this area is often misunderstood.
While generally a company will own the copyrights in works developed by its employees, this may not always be the case, such that proper employment agreements offer key protection to a company.
With independent contractors, copyright may not be what one would expect. Unless the company hiring the independent contractor has a clear written agreement specifying that the ownership of copyright will be transferred, the contractor will generally retain the copyright. This applies even though the company is hiring the contractor to create or develop works subject to copyright.
Individual creators of work subject to copyright will also have moral rights. The moral rights are often overlooked; they cannot be assigned but can be waived, and they should be dealt with appropriately.
Materials subject to copyright, such as source code, customer lists, or other documentation, may also be valuable confidential information and may require additional steps to protect it appropriately, including security measures and proper non-disclosure agreements.
Significant Areas of Service:
- Advice on all aspects of copyright protection and infringement
- Preparation and filing of applications for copyright registration
- Negotiation and drafting of copyright agreements, including copyright license agreements and asset purchase agreements involving copyright
- Conducting due diligence to assess copyright in the context of business transactions
- Provision of advice regarding enforcement of copyright, copyright liability and ownership issues
- Copyright litigation