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Copyright Infringement

Copyright protects many forms of creative expression, from visual works, to music, to architectural works, to source code and software, to literary works and sculptures. Individuals, artists, musicians, and small businesses all create copyrighted material regularly. All need to protect their copyrighted works as much as possible, but at the same time avoid infringing others’ copyrighted works. For small businesses with employees creating work product this is especially sensitive and important, both from a defensive and offensive perspective.

Pursuing those who infringe copyright for our clients and helping our clients avoid copyright infringement are the twin aims of our copyright lawyers. Many of our clients have valuable, creative works that are infringed, and need recourse to the legal system to protect their rights. The Copyright Act provides a full range of remedies, form actual damages to statutory damages of varying amounts depending upon the nature of the infringement, to attorney’s fees and injunctive relief. Not all remedies are automatically available, however, and so we counsel clients regularly on how to protect their creative works in a legally proper manner to avail themselves of all the Copyright Act remedies.

In the internet realm, copyright infringement is rampant because of the ease by which people can reproduce others’ works and create new works based upon others’ works. Modern internet businesses raise myriad complex copyright issues under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). Under the DMCA, certain businesses may face a safe harbor of copyright immunity for the acts of their users depending upon the circumstances. By the same token, modern internet businesses may face liability and lose the copyright safe harbor—and thus face liability for the copyright infringements that occur on their website—depending upon the circumstances. Our lawyers have litigated the DMCA and its contours extensively and so can prosecute or defend actions that address the scope of the DMCA. We have also counseled numerous clients through the thorny minefield of fair use issues in the digital age and the challenges posed by such recent legislation as the DMCA.

In the copyright arena, our lawyers have represented numerous clients in high profile cases that have tested the boundaries of copyright law, from the clash between intellectual property rights and First Amendment interests, the scope of fair use rights on the internet, and the application of foreign copyright law in American courts to the limits of the work-for-hire doctrine, the exercise of copyright termination rights and the boundaries of the first sale doctrine. Our clients include major Hollywood studios, producers, screenwriters, artists, architects, musicians, computer programmers, publishers and photography agencies. At the same time, we have advised some of the largest companies on complex copyright issues, companies such as Yahoo and Core Logic.

Some of our more notable copyright litigation experience includes:

  • Representing the world famous and renowned artist Alexandra Nechita in copyright claims to protect her artistic integrity
  • Representing Hollywood photography agency X17 in an infringement and misappropriation suit against prominent celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton.
  • Representing Miami and Los Angeles photograph agency Mavrix Photo, Inc. in copyright infringement claims against the Daily Mail of London.
  • Defending Chuck DeVore, a candidate for the United States Senate, against infringement claims by Don Henley of The Eagles over a politically themed song parody.
  • Representing renowned artist Josh Agle (aka Shag) in claims of copyright infringement against several multinational corporations.
  • Representing a major Southland business in copyright infringement claims over proprietary source code.
  • Defending the creator of a well-known peer-to-peer client against infringement claims leveled by Kazaa, the world’s largest peer-to-peer file trading system at the time.
  • Representing Wall Street Reporter in claims of copyright infringement against several multinational corporations.
  • Defending a leading publisher of university coursepackets against infringement claims by the world’s largest academic presses.
  • Representing a songwriter in an infringement suit against best-selling hip-hop superstar Daddy Yankee and Universal Records.
  • Defending a celebrity architect in an infringement suit involving two multi-million dollar Tuscan mansions.
  • Representing studio New Line Cinema in a title dispute over a forthcoming summer blockbuster.
  • Defending a Hollywood producer and agent in a copyright ownership dispute over a contested literary property.
  • Representing a British recording label in a copyright ownership dispute over the rights to the last major concert recorded by Jimi Hendrix.
  • Representing an important national security mainframe company in protecting its copyright protected source code as used by NASA.

Our lawyers have also successfully litigated copyright licensing-related disputes for entertainment, media, and hi-tech clients. Our lawyers have served as expert witnesses in several copyright infringement suits. All told, our copyright experience runs the full gamut of protected works, from such traditional subject matter as music, literature, art, photography, film and television to such novel subject matter as computer object and source code, web pages, and architecture.

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