The Law Office of David C. Deal is located in the beautiful university town of Charlottesville, Virginia, within sight of the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains. Our office is passionate about representing visual artists concerning intellectual property issues, with a particular emphasis on photographic copyright infringement matters.

We believe our small size and singular focus lends itself to stronger working relationships with our clients, which leads to superior results in negotiations or at trial. Although we excel at litigating cases involving timely and complex legal issues, we regularly represent clients with much more straightforward and simple needs.

Our office has successfully represented nearly 150 individual clients in over 1,000 cases involving copyright infringement of photographic works. Our office has the ability to represent clients in all Federal jurisdictions within the United States by partnering with our extensive network of experienced local counsel and expert witnesses.

Simply put, copyright takes place when an “original work of authorship” is “fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” 17 U.S.C. § 102. Copyright vests in the author at the moment of creation of an original work and includes the following ownership rights: (1) Reproduction; (2) Preparation of derivative works; (3) Distribution of copies to the public; and (4) Public display. 17 U.S.C. § 106. Unlike most other forms of property, copyright may only be transferred by written instrument. 17 U.S.C. § 104.

Copyright law is full of complicated and constantly changing issues. For example,

  • Are there legitimate defenses to copyright infringement, including “fair use?”

  • What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)?

  • What does it mean to “timely register” a work, and what are the legal advantages of doing so?

  • Is my copyright weakened when or how I post my photographs online?

  • What are the potential risks of filing suit against a company or individual with greater financial resources?

Our goal is to liberate creative professionals from getting bogged down in the time-consuming and difficult details of chasing down infringers and engaging the legal system, with a minimum level of interruption to their business and artistic pursuits.


David C. Deal  |  434-233-2727

David Deal is the founder of and principal attorney at The Law Office of David C. Deal, P.L.C. David is a nationally recognized intellectual property attorney, specializing in copyright infringement matters on behalf of photographers and businesses throughout the United States and Europe. David has successfully litigated cases of all sizes and complexities in a majority of Federal jurisdictions.

David has worked extensively on the case of Vivian Maier. At the time of her death in 2009, Ms. Maier had captured hundreds of thousands of captivating images documenting city life in New York and Chicago, almost all of which had never been seen or appreciated by the public during her lifetime. David researched and wrote about the legal and moral issues involved when Ms. Maier’s work was exploited by individuals and organizations which did not possess copyright to Ms. Maier’s images (Moral Rights, Copyrights, and the Case of Vivian Maier, Villanova Law School, February 2013). David performed exhaustive genealogical research on Ms. Maier’s extended family, which led to discovery of Ms. Maier’s heirs and the creation of the Estate of Vivian Maier by the Cook County (IL) Probate Court.

Prior to founding The Law Office of David C. Deal, David worked for nearly twenty years as a free-lance documentary and portrait photographer. He traveled the United States and Europe on assignment, and his work was featured in magazines and newspapers throughout the world. He photographed well-known athletes, politicians, and businesspeople, as well as individuals outside the public view. In 2001, Alter Books published Prospects: A Portrait of Minor League Baseball, a collection of David’s photographs and short essays. His fine art photographs are included in the permanent collections of major museums and private collectors in the United States.

David is an avid runner, cyclist, and triathlete, and has competed in numerous long-distance road and trail races, as well as Ironman-distance triathlons.

J.D., Villanova University School of Law, 2013
B.S., Architecture, University of Virginia, 1993

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Professional Memberships:
American Bar Association
Virginia State Bar
Copyright Society of the USA