Copyright Legal Services

The documents and materials that your company uses — the company website, employee work products, and even photos and videos that your employees post on company social media — are all necessary parts of your business. It’s important to protect the company’s rights in what it creates and to ensure the company doesn’t infringe someone else’s rights when employees use items created by others.

Protect your investment

Copyright law governs all of these things and, unfortunately, the law is both complicated and outdated. In truth, it frequently seems to not make sense, even to savvy business people. Let us help you figure it all out.

With a committed, collaborative, client-focused advocate on your side

In one quick, free phone call, we can help you:

  • Identify any copyright or similar issues you may face
  • Explain the risks they could pose
  • Identify the options available to you
  • Discuss the pros and cons of those options
  • Help you make the decisions that are best for your business

Schedule your free call now!

Since 2001, we have represented clients of all types and sizes in copyright matters. Our clients have included:

  • A growing, family-owned graphic design firm based in Austin
  • An international firm designing high-end housewares based in New York City
  • Software, website, and mobile app designers
  • Secondary and post-secondary educational institutions
  • Individual authors, artists, and other creators

Our team understands that each client’s concerns, needs, and resources are particular to that client. Our uncommon breadth of experience uniquely positions us to collaborate with each client to find solutions that best meet that client’s needs.

We can assist clients in:

  • Protecting their rights in works they create or acquire
  • Legally using works created by others
  • Licensing the use of their works to others
  • Analyzing claims of infringement
  • Addressing questions of legal ownership
  • Analyzing fair use rights
  • Preparing policies and procedures to minimize risk and maximize rights
  • Addressing issues associated with user-generated content

In one quick, free phone call, we will help you:

  • Identify any copyright or similar issues you may face
  • Explain the risks they could pose
  • Identify the options available to you
  • Discuss the pros and cons of those options

Schedule your free call now!

  • Employers own the copyrights in works created by employees, but the same is usually not true for works created by independent contractors, unless the appropriate paperwork is in place.
  • Copyright protection is automatic upon creation of a work, so the lack of a copyright symbol or statement doesn’t mean it’s legal to copy something.
  • Registering your copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office enhances your rights.
  • You can infringe copyright even if you don’t intend to infringe, don’t realize you’re infringing, and don’t profit from your use of someone else’s work.

Reality Check: Not unless you have a written assignment of copyright and other rights. Unlike employees, with no written documentation stating otherwise, independent contractors own the copyright in what they create for someone else, no matter how much the hiring party paid.

Reality Check: Under current copyright law, everything (that meets very minimal requirements) is protected by copyright automatically at the moment it is created. This is true even if there is no copyright notice (the “C in a circle”) or other indication of a claim of copyright. Unless the copyright owner has given you permission to use it, your use probably infringes the copyright.

Reality Check: A copyright is infringed when someone copies, makes derivatives, distributes copies to the public, and/or performs or displays a work in public without the owner’s permission, regardless of whether they profit financially from it, or even whether the copyright owner sells or licenses the work.

Reality Check: Making changes to an existing work may constitute creating a “derivative” of that work, which is an infringement of the copyright owner’s rights. There is no minimum quantitative requirement for infringement.

Reality Check: Ownership of an item, whether a hard copy or digital, is completely separate from ownership of any copyright in the item or even limited permission to use it in certain ways. The Copyright Act does give the owner of a lawfully made copy of an item to further distribute it to the public (but not to make copies to distribute; rather, to “dispose of” that copy any way you wish).

In the case of a digital work, you may not even own the work. Many “purchases” of digital works (such as most ebooks) are actually subject to licenses that dictate how you can and cannot use the work. In this csae, check the license to see what it allows.

Gretchen McCord is well-qualified and experienced in the field of copyright law. What makes her stand out from others is her adaptability and willingness to adjust to the unique demands of her immediate audience. She went above and beyond tailoring her work to our needs. Her ongoing support and advice, even after completing services, is the most surprising and appreciated aspect of Gretchen’s true willingness to be not only supportive, but also exceptional. I plan on using Gretchen’s services in the future, and would highly recommend her.

Jennifer Steinford, Director of Library , Columbia Southern University


U.S. Copyright Office

Copyright FAQ

Copyright for Libraries and Educational Institutions

How to Claim the DMCA Safe Harbor