Unfortunately, intellectual property (or IP as it is sometimes known) is an area of law that is constantly changing, meaning that lawyers who work primarily in this area have to always be on their toes. One of the bigger areas of IP is copyright, and an intellectual property lawyer is definitely the best person to get advice from if copyright is an issue you are dealing with.
When dealing with copyright, most people will have many questions that they would like answered before proceeding. What is copyright? How do I know if my work can be protected by copyright? How do I get copyright for my work? These are all questions that can be quickly and succinctly answered by an intellectual property lawyer, saving you hours of research on the internet (which often only comes up with partially true or complex results).
So, what sort of work can be protected underneath copyright law?
Literature: such as lyrics, poems, articles, novels and even (in some cases) databases.
Performing arts: such as a dancer or even a mime artist.
Art: such as paintings, photography, maps, engravings and designs.
Typographical layouts: such as a novel (or any kind of published work).
Recordings: such as film scripts, broadcasts and music.
If your work falls into any of the above categories, an intellectual property lawyer will help you to register it for copyright (as well as any other IP rights that it may be eligible for, such as a trademark or a patent). Once your work has been properly registered, if anyone wants to use it or copy it they will have to ask for your permission first (and you are completely within your rights to say no).
For many creative people, the whole legal process can be a highly complex and confusing entity. An intellectual property lawyer, however, will be able to explain and discuss your various rights with you, as well as advising you towards the best course of action. If you have created an album of songs, for example, you may have to apply for an overall copyright and then individual copyright for each of the songs. An IP lawyer will be able to help you here.
And, finally, if you feel that an individual or a company has infringed on your copyright, your intellectual property lawyer will be able to begin proceedings for claiming damages against these people. This can take a considerable amount of stress off your shoulders, especially as you will often have no idea how to best deal with such an infringement.