If you’re a blogger here in Tempe, then you likely want photographs to go with the articles that you write. While it may seem easy enough to snag whatever photograph comes up in the search engine, it may end up costing you a lot of money if you do.

The United States Copyright Office considers any original works to be protected by intellectual property laws from the moment that you upload, post or publish them. Copyrights don’t just apply to written works like books, poems, songs, movie scripts, plays but also to architecture, photographs and computer programs as well.

If you hold a copyright to a piece of intellectual property, then you are able to enjoy five rights as its owner.

You can reproduce, perform or display it for the general public. You can also distribute copies of it to them. You can also author derivative works based on your original work product.

Although the copyright of your work is automatic, you can’t sue someone for infringement until you’ve registered it with the U.S. Copyright Office.

The one exception to the Copyright Act is fair use rights. Federal laws allow for some materials to be used on a limited basis without the user having to first request the author’s permission to do so.

This exception is generally applied to teaching materials used in the classroom or for information used as part of a research project. They may be used by journalists as part of news reports and in preparing criticisms or commentaries as well. Whether fair use exceptions apply is a murky area that’s often litigated.

It can be discouraging for someone to steal your work when you’ve taken your time to put your thoughts to paper or to capture the right image. A business law attorney can aggressively defend your copyright and help you file an infringement lawsuit here in Arizona if someone has violated it.