Intellectual Property Law

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I am the author of an original book that I have copyrighted.

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Good morning. I am...

Good morning. I am the author of an original book that I have copyrighted. Excerpts of my book are now prominently integrated into a movie without my permission. Can I sue?

Lawyer's Assistant: Do you have a registration record?

Yes I do.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a local attorney? Has anything been filed in court?

I have done neither.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

An earlier version of my book was published in 2012.

Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Intellectual Property Law
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Answered in 1 hour by:
3/16/2018
IP Lawyer: Attorney Wendy, Lawyer replied 4 months ago
Attorney Wendy
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,166
Experience: Member at Keefer & Keefer LLC
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Hello. My name is ***** ***** I am an attorney. I am preparing a response to your question and should have that to you shortly.

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IP Lawyer: Attorney Wendy, Lawyer replied 4 months ago

I am sorry you are dealing with what must be a very frustrating situation. As the copyright owner of your book, others are prohibited from using your works without your permission/license. That said, the fair use doctrine could permit unlicensed use of copyrighted works in certain circumstances. The factors to consider include whether the use of your work was for profit or non-profit/educational purposes, the nature of your work (essentially whether allowing some use of it would discourage or encourage others to engage in this type of creative work), the amount of your work as compared to its whole (what portion or percentage of your book is being used), and the effect of this unlicensed use on the value of your work (will the other party's use of it make people less apt to pay for your work). From the information you provided, where excerpts are prominently used in a movie, unless the movie is educational or non-profit based, it is possible, if not likely, that this use does not meet the fair use exception and is infringement. Even if the movie was educational/non-profit, it would not automatically mean the use is proper as the other factors may weigh in favor of still requiring a license. One step to consider is to send the movie owners/producers what is known as a Cease and Desist letter asking them to remove any excerpts of your book from the movie or immediately stop selling and/or distributing the movie (in hard copy, streaming or any other format). Their failure to do so may require you to file an infringement suit, which can be pretty expensive. You could also consider in your cease and desist letter asking for some amount of compensation for the use so far - based either on what you believe the fair market value of the use would be (how much you would've charged to license use of the work properly) or on the copyright infringement established statutory damages (which can range from $750-30,000) - as a settlement of any potential claim you may have.

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Please note: This information is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No course of action is being proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege has been formed as result of this conversation.

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