A copyright attorney, as the name connotes, basically advises clients about copyright law. The services of a copyright lawyer is often employed to protect the rights of a person over his intellectual property and to shield such rights from intrusion and/or infringement.
It is essential to define some important terms first. 'Copyright' chiefly means a right that a person or a company has over its published creative works and the license to prevent other people from copying said creative works. In a published novel for instance, no other publisher can publish the novel without the consent of the author and the original publisher. In most cases, such consent to publish always comes at a certain fee.
The scope of copyright encompasses all types of creative work including written and spoken works, music, computer programs, art works and design, photographs, and movies. These are more technically referred to as 'intellectual property'.
When it comes to inventions, copyright is not the governing law but the patent system. It is still essential, though, for a copyright attorney to have a technical understanding of the aspects of patent law.
Both corporate and private clients can be catered to by a copyright lawyer. Intellectual property theft is a common case that the copyright lawyer has to face. Most often, the lawyer will send a 'cease and desist' letter to the violating party to inform him of an existing copyright over the subject work. However, there may be other more complicated issues which requires for the filing of a case in court for judicial determination.
With the influx of computers and internet, also comes the rise in percentage of intellectual property theft cases. Copyright thieves has made use of ebook publishing and scanners in order to publish copyrighted works with ease and at a cheaper price. Copying of text and images by website owners from other websites without the owner’s permission has also become rampant.
Any person interested in pursuing a career in law but does not want to involve himself with the complexities of criminal or family law will find copyright law to be an excellent alternative. There may be times that a copyright lawyer has to appear in court to litigate, however, most of his time will still be spent inside his office dispensing legal advice to his clients.
Being a copyright lawyer requires the same skills needed by lawyers of other fields, such as:
1. The skill to read and understand complex reading materials. Copyright law is a highly technical matter and a lawyer must have the ability to translate these technical matters into simple terms for his clients to understand.
2. The expertise to present a strong argument for his case, either orally and in writing. This also involves the skill to foresee the possible argument that may be presented by the opposing party and to come up with a tough argument to attack such theory.
Just like other lawyers, becoming a copyright attorney requires the same level of education to be attained, which includes high school, college and eventually law school. Early preparation may be an advantage because one can choose relevant subjects to further enhance his skills such as taking up technical writing subjects or public speaking.
Participating in debates may also prove to be helpful as this may provide opportunities for the aspiring lawyer to practice his speaking skills and develop argumentation techniques. This can also be a feather in one’s resume and can be a tool to check whether one has indeed the aptitude needed for a career in law, particularly becoming a copyright attorney.