An author acquires a federal copyright to his work in art and music, including prose, by fixing his/her expression of an idea in a “tangible” medium, be it clay, canvas, recording or paper. Fixed in a tangible medium can also mean any electronic file sitting in temporary memory on a computer.

The enforcement of copyrights is the exclusive province of the federal courts. In order to sue someone for copyright infringement, you must register the copyright with the United States Copyright Office. If you choose not to register your copyright within 90 days of publication, you forgo statutory damages that only require the proof of infringement in order to collect. Windy City Trial Group can both register your copyright and litigate the infringement in federal court. And unlike most areas of the law, if you win a copyright case, the judge has discretion to order the infringer to pay your attorneys’ fees.