Roger E. Naghash is a renowned California copyright lawyer dedicated to protecting the original works of creative individuals throughout California and other states. Whether you are an inventor, author, designer, or musician, we fight to defend your work and can help you prevail in copyright disputes.

Copyright infringement is an area of intellectual property law that protects the authors and creators of original work. Under copyright law, the creator of the original expression in a work is its author. The author is also the copyright owner, unless he or she assigns the copyright to another party by written agreement. Authors and creators have exclusive rights to copy, distribute, and adapt their work. Because they hold these exclusive legal rights, others must obtain the copyright holder’s permission to copy the work, whether it is dramatic, artistic, musical, or literary. That means only authors retain the right to control the production, display, reproduction, distribution, and translation of their work. When others violate these ownership rights, they commit a copyright infringement. Examples of works protected by copyright include:

  • Software
  • Computer programs
  • Paintings, graphics
  • Plays, novels, stories
  • Architectural works
  • Audiovisual works
  • Motion pictures
  • Sound recordings
  • Musical compositions

Copyright owners have the sole right to publish and sell their work. They have the exclusive privilege to control the reproduction of their work, including the right to receive payment for reproductions. Authors may grant or sell these rights to others, such as publishers or recording companies who then have “permission” to copy and broadcast their work. Copyright protection is distinct from patents, which give inventors exclusive rights over use of the inventions, and trademarks, which legally protect words, symbols, or other distinguishing features of products and services. Generally, an infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is performed, reproduced, distributed, or made into a derivative work without the owner’s permission.

Copyright law is codified in Title 17 of the United States Code. Although this law gives copyright owners the right to reproduce--or authorize others to reproduce--their work, this right is not absolute. According to Section 107, one important limitation is the doctrine of “fair use.” In determining whether a particular use of the work is “fair,” courts will consider the purpose and character of the use, including whether it was for commercial gain or merely “educational.” Courts will also look at the amount and “substantiality” of the portion used in relation to the work as a whole to determine if there was a violation. Lastly, they will look at the “effect” of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work.

Pursuant to Section 504, an infringer whose use of the work is not deemed “fair” is liable to the owner for actual and statutory damages, including any additional profits attributable to the infringement. Courts may also grant injunctions to prevent the alleged infringement and seize all copies, records, and other articles related to the alleged violation. For certain “impoundments of records,” the court shall issue a protective order to prevent the improper disclosure of any confidential or privileged information.

If you are a victim of copyright infringement, an experienced California copyright attorney can help. Roger E. Naghash has successfully represented numerous copyright owners in copyright infringement suits. We fight to protect your exclusive rights, including the right to be compensated for any infringement. At the Law Offices of Roger E. Naghash, we value your creativity and hard work and believe that no one else should profit illegally by violating your rights. To receive a free consultation, call us at (949) 955-1000. We look forward to providing you with the highest quality legal representation.