What is copyright protection?
Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States and extended to the authors of “original works of authorship”. While this applies to many forms of authorship (literary, dramatic, musical, photographic, etc.) it is only the protection of literary works which we are concerned with here in the book publishing world. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works and it generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the work in copies (i.e. print a book), prepare derivative works based upon the work (in other words make a screenplay from a book), distribute copies of the work to the public by sale (i.e. sell copies of the book), and perform the work publicly (i.e. turn a book into a theatrical performance).
How do I obtain copyright protection for my book?
Contrary to common belief, no steps are needed to obtain copyright protection for a book. The book need not be registered or published. Copyright protection for a book attaches automatically when the work is “created”. A book is created when the book is written with paper and pen, or typed into a computer or other device- anything that “fixes” the work in a “copy” that may be “visually perceived”. Thus, just having the idea for a book in your head is not enough to secure copyright protection- the concept for the book must actually be fixed in a copy.
Source: Page Publishing
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Have you sent him any invoices
Via regular mail? I would send an invoice certified return receipt requesting payment for the work rendered.
Now in terms of this potential legal battle, it could get a little uncomfortable. HEre's why. What does your contract state specifically about copyrights? Most design contracts the copyright usually goes to the person who you are doing the desiging for, meaning your past employer re...ontract that you signed when you started working for him in terms of rights?
Also, you blatently threatened his business, which in general is not a good idea to do. Small claims court is the proper thing to do as well as a proper letter (not a verbal threat) letting him know that the website needs to be taken down according to such and such law until you are paid for your services, etc....
You have options. You mentioned
A contract, so the first thing you do is contact the person that you dealt with for the commission, point out what your contract was for, and the fact that you are aware the school is now using your copyrighted image.
Be nice, be friendly. Tell them that they are in violation of your copyrights, and you'd be happy to work out a financial arrangement that is beneficial to you so they can c...s the site for Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
If you're feeling charitable, you can tell them you are going to now donate all the proceeds from future sales to some charity. Or keep the money.
The minute they give you a hard time, I would let them know that you are going to be contacting the local press on this issue. Because no matter what they say, they are taking advantage of you.
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