Copyright lawyers: When Do I Need One? - Pixsy

Copyright Lawyers: When Do I Need Them?

Photo by Hunters Race

If you need a copyright lawyer, there’s a good statistical chance that you encountered image theft but perhaps you just need a legal consultation on registering one of your works with the U.S. Copyright Office. In any case, it’s best to clear what copyright lawyers do, what type of attorney you need, and what to expect from the whole legal process.

What do copyright lawyers do?

A copyright lawyer, or copyright attorney, protects the copyright of their client in relation to the works for which they have proven copyright and protects those works from being distributed or reproduced without their client’s permission.

This is consistent with the concept of copyright (below). See our guide about using copyrighted images, the answers to frequently asked questions on the subject, and what copyright doesn’t cover.

According to the Copyright Law of the United States, the copyright owner of an image has exclusive rights to:

  • Reproduce the copyrighted work in copies.
  • Create derivative works upon the copyrighted object.
  • Sell or distribute copies of the copyrighted work.
  • Display the copyrighted work publicly.

It’s good to know that copyright lawyers belong to a bigger category of intellectual property lawyers and thus represent one area of intellectual property.

The four fields of intellectual property 

  1. Patent Law: Protection of inventions and inventors with the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing an invention.
  2. Copyright Law: Protection of works of authorship, from photographs to literary works to music.
  3. Trademark Law: Protection of words, phrases, sounds, colors, or other symbols that are typically used to identify goods or services. 
  4. Trade Secrets: Protection of information companies keep secret, especially from their competitors, including information about processes, recipes, and ingredients of products.

What type of copyright lawyer do I need?

There can be many issues around copyright where copyright owners may need legal counseling. These are some of the common cases for copyright lawyers: 

  • Original ownership of a work
  • Transfer of ownership of a work
  • Ownership recognition of a work
  • Plagiarism of copyrighted work
  • Public domain issues 
  • Copyright infringement
Copyright infringement is a quite often recurring problem nowadays, and can have both civil and criminal consequences in the US. Copyright infringement penalties include statutory damages that can range from $750 – $30,000 plus attorney’s fees, or more in unprecedented cases.

Some copyright lawyers specialize more in copyright registration, advising on copyright issues in general or drafting licensing agreements, while others in negotiating and enforcing copyright, and defending clients against copyright infringement in trials. 

Naturally, you may also find a copyright attorney who can work with you throughout the whole process, from registering your copyright to an incidental infringement case.

Furthermore, some copyright lawyers specialize in a given field, such as photography or music as representing someone in those fields often requires unique knowledge as well — something to keep in mind when looking for an attorney to represent you.

lawyerPhoto by Melinda Gimpel

How much does a copyright lawyer cost?

Copyright lawyers usually have an hourly rate and it’s best to discuss it with them upfront as some cases can last quite a while — even up to a year, or more, in special instances. 

As step zero, we also suggest contemplating if you can solve the matter in question without asking for legal help. For instance, if someone is using a photograph of yours on their website without your permission, you may be able to discuss it with them to take it down. You might even agree on getting paid for the time they’ve been using your image without authorization.

If you’re certain that you need legal help, thankfully, you also have other options than researching for copyright lawyers on your own and comparing services and fees for long hours. 

Pixsy does not only have an AI-powered reverse image tool that monitors your images used online and quickly finds copyright infringement too, but you can also issue takedown requests worldwide, or have Pixsy’s copyright experts and legal partners take care of resolving everything.

The best part: you only have to pay Pixsy if you win. No win, no fee!

What is it like working with a copyright lawyer at Pixsy?

Pixsy’s copyright lawyers work to recover compensation for you globally when your images are stolen and there’s a proven unauthorized use of your commercial images. 

The process includes:

  • Submitting cases for free: Pixsy only gets paid when you do
  • Submitting cases easily: complete a quick form, then Pixsy picks up the case
  • Pixsy works internationally: a global network of legal partners can back you up
  • Dedicated case manager: keeping you up-to-date with your case
  • Fast payout: if your case is successful, you get paid as quickly as possible

Great copyright lawyers are not only skilled in copyright law but in the field that you’re coming from, let it be the literary world, music or photography. If you belong to the latter, rest assured that you’ll be in good hands with Pixsy. 

Our powerful image monitoring software and legal expertise make us the number one fighter against image theft. Protect your photography work and let Pixsy be your copyright lawyer!