creative work copyright law attorneys gainesville fl

Graphic Design: Who Owns Advertising Material?

You would think that if you pay someone to create advertising material for your business, you would have a right to the advertising that was created for your use.

Surprisingly, Copyright law does not work that way.

The Copyright of creative works does not require any formal registration like an application for a trademark or a patent. As soon as a person creates a creative work, that work is copyrighted. However, creators can register their copyrights with the United States government, which provides more protections to creative works.

  1. Filing Suit
  2. Attorney’s Fees and statutory damages
  3. Automatic validity


If you think that someone is infringing on your copyrighted work, you can get an injunction, the impoundment of the infringing work, damages, and attorney’s fees.

If you do not have your copyright registered with the United States Copyright Office, you must be able to prove when you created your copyrighted work to establish the validity of your copyright. Only after you establish your ownership of the copyrighted work will you be able to ask a Court to prevent others from infringing that work or award you monetary damages for infringement of your copyright.

The copyright owner of a creative work, like advertising material, has the following exclusive rights:

  1. to reproduce the copyrighted work;
  2. to prepare derivative works based on the original copyrighted work;
  3. to distribute copies of the copyrighted work;
  4. to perform the work publicly;
  5. to display the work publicly; and
  6. in the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly through digital audio transmission.


These copyright law implications touch on all aspects of advertising material for businesses in Florida, including the display of business logos, advertising with on a business’s website, or preparing brochures to then provide to customers. Without thorough consideration of the copyright infringement, it is possible to get sued for using your own advertising material!

The attorneys at Knellinger, Jacobson & Associates in Gainesville, Florida can help advise your business on your intellectual property rights in advertising. We can help you develop a business strategy that combines the protections of both copyright and trademark law.

About Richard Knellinger