To become a copyright agent, it is necessary to become an attorney who specializes in copyright law and related topics. There are a number of different kinds of copyright agent, and this article focuses specifically on working as a representative who handles complaints about copyright infringement for a company, typically a media company. The demand for people who can fulfill this role started to rise dramatically in the 2000s when copyright infringement online became a growing problem and companies handling digital media from a variety of sources needed representation to handle infringement complaints.
The job of the copyright agent is to act as a contact person for a company. If a person believes the company is infringing her copyright, she can file a claim with the company explaining the situation and asking for rectification of the situation. She can also designate an attorney to act on her behalf. For example, an author relies on her publisher to enforce her copyrights. The publishing company provides public contact information for its copyright agent so people with infringement concerns know who to go to. A person who plans to become a copyright agent needs to be comfortable in a variety of settings, working with many different kinds of people.
The copyright agent must be an attorney, as he needs to be able to review infringement claims to determine if they have merit. Some copyright agents also act as general counsels for the companies they work for, while in other cases, they head up an intellectual property division within the company. Companies may contract this work out to a law firm, in which case someone may act as a copyright agent for several companies. Getting a law degree is critical for a person who wants to become a copyright agent, as is successfully passing the bar.
Copyright law is complex and can become very thorny when it comes to issues like fair use of material online. A person who plans to become a copyright agent should pursue additional training in this area, and may want to take advantage of seminars in online intellectual property management and similar topics. This training will be valuable when it comes to reviewing complaints about copyright infringement and deciding how to proceed with them.
A person on the path to become a copyright agent may graduate from law school, pass the bar, and start working for a law firm offering representation in intellectual property cases. This provides people with real world experience in the field. Some may work under copyright agents to get familiar with how companies respond to infringement complaints. This work experience is usually necessary before people can start applying for jobs where they will supervise legal departments and issue legal statements on their own authority, rather than under the supervision of someone with more experience and training.