Re: attorney's work and copyright

From: Bruce Hayden <bhayden[_at_]copatlaw.com>
Date: Fri, 06 Sep 1996 08:11:22 -0700

Cumbow,Robert-SEA wrote:
>
> MATTHEW KRIGBAUM wrote:
> >
> > We had drafted some carefully research and
> > thoughtout interrogatories and request's for production. These were
> > served on the other party and three days later we were served with
> > their set of interrogatories. What we were served with is in most
> > instances a verbatim copy of what we had drafted. Would this fit
> > under copyright infringement...?
>
> Martin Perlberger then asked:
> >
> > If this were subject to copyright and not under an exception or legal
> > privilege, what would be the remedy and what would be the damage for
> > infringement?
>
> Statutory damages of $500 to $20,000 ... IF Mr. Krigbaum's firm were
> clever enough to have registered the copyright before the "infringing"
> interrogatories were received.

This presumes that the work was not published. Otherwise of course you have upwards of three months to register. One may be able to argue that if all you did was send the interrogatories to the other side, that they weren't published. I would think the argument somewhat harder if they were filed with the court.

One other thing to consider is that if you do register early enough, you would probably also get attorneys' fees etc. should you win. However, should you lose, regardless of when you registered, you would probably end up paying the costs of the other side. So, I would be very sure of myself, esp. as to fair use, implied license, merger, etc. before I filed such a suit.

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The preceding was not a legal opinion, and is not my employer's.
Original portions Copyright 1996 Bruce E. Hayden, All Rights Reserved
My work may be copied in whole or part, with proper attribution,
as long as the copying is not for commercial gain.
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Bruce E. Hayden                                  bhayden[_at_]acm.org
Austin, Texas                                    bhayden[_at_]copatlaw.com
Received on Fri Sep 06 1996 - 13:10:51 GMT

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