Q: My personal images were stolen for making of parody songs by a small entertainment company. I sued them.
I sued them in Stanley Mosk Courthouse, they filed a motion to remove it to federal court.
In Stanley mosk, I sued them for intellectual property theift. It was possible to sue even without registering the pictures as it wasn't the district court.
The defendants lawyer claim that my stolen pictures (from my private Facebook account messages) must be registered before I can sue them and they will go for dismissal of case.
Is it possible to sue by claiming that the private messages were prepublications that the company stole before I could have published them? This way I will be able to get away without registering with the copyright office.
A: The claim could be brought under the California state law prohibiting the unauthorized use of another's name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness on products or merchandise or for the purposes of advertising or promotion. The copyright claim does require registration prior to suing for infringement and the jurisdiction is federal, so you would be better off to amend the state court complaint dropping the copyright claim and inserting the claim for unauthorized use of your likeness.
A: Under U.S. copyright law, which applies nationwide including in California, registration of a work with the U.S. Copyright Office is not required to hold a copyright, as copyright attaches as soon as the work is fixed in a tangible medium. However, registration can provide additional legal benefits and is generally required to file a lawsuit for statutory damages and attorney's fees in cases of copyright infringement. While you might argue that the photos were unpublished and were therefore exempt from the registration requirement, this is a nuanced legal argument that depends heavily on the specific circumstances of the case, and federal courts may vary in how they approach this issue. It would be best to consult with a lawyer to discuss the specifics of your situation.
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