As an independent business owner, your original content creations are unique and an extended expression of your talent and passion. However, in the vast world of creativity, there are both admirers and those with ill intent who may try to take credit for your hard work without asking for permission. So they go and take full credit for such work as if it’s their “own” creation.
Not everyone is out to get you – you have people that want to uplift you, and that includes allies in the legal realm. We want to ensure that you receive well-deserved credit and intellectual property protection.
That’s why I aim to shed light on the powerful defense that is copyright law, providing you with the knowledge and tools to protect your intellectual property.
So, what exactly is copyright law? In a nutshell, it secures your original, tangible, and creative endeavors, granting you exclusive rights to your work and preventing others from claiming your work as their own.
I invite you to delve into the fascinating world of copyright law. Within this blog, you’ll discover:
- The importance of defending your content
- A comprehensive understanding of what content is eligible for copyright and what falls outside of its scope
- 5 effective strategies to fortify your intellectual property, ensuring its safety and integrity
Your Content Creation Benefits With Copyright Law
Just like having insurance, a strategy to protect your copyrights will ensure that you hold full control of your creation, from profits to recognized credit — and not anyone else. Because with all the time and energy you’ve invested into your work, it’s only fair and empowering that you take precautions to safeguard them.
These benefits include 6 exclusive rights to…
1. Reproduce your work: This allows you to make copies of your creation, and share your brilliance in multiple ways, reaching a wider audience.
For example, graphic designs, sculptures, custom-made jewelry, multimedia creations like websites and brochures, motion pictures, video games, music videos, object code, poetry, essays, short stories, comics, burlesque routines, and other choreography, ship hulls, drawings that can be transferred into textiles, or other forms of expressions.
2. Create derivative works: Embrace the freedom to expand upon your original creation, exploring new artistic territories through adaptations, translations, or mesmerizing remixes.
3. Distribute your work: You have the authority to control the distribution and dissemination of your work to the public, ensuring that it reaches your target audience.
4. Perform or display your work*: The right to step into the spotlight and showcase your masterpiece publicly. This could be but not limited to live performances, captivating exhibitions, or cutting-edge digital platforms.
a. The exclusive right to publicly perform your work only applies to: literature, music, drama, dance, pantomime, motion pictures, and audiovisual works. It does not apply to recorded music, which is limited to a right to public performance only by “digital audio transmissions” in the U.S. In other words, there are no performance royalties paid to artists or their record labels for U.S. radio play.
5. License or sell your work: Monetize your creation by granting licenses or selling the rights to others, securing financial rewards for your content creations.
The Types Of Intellectual Property Protection
Below you’ll find a list of the types of creative work that U.S. Copyright Law protects:
- Literary works (e.g. object code, novels, poems, magazines, newspapers)
- Musical works (e.g. songs with music and/or lyrics)
- Dramatic works (e.g. plays, screenplays, teleplays, scripts)
- Pantomime works and choreography
- Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works (e.g. jewelry, graphic design, visual arts)
- Motion pictures and video games;
- Sound recordings (aka all recorded music, whether analog or digitally captured)
- Architectural designs
- Designs of boat hulls and/or their decks
What Copyright Law Doesn’t Protect: Navigating the Boundaries
As powerful as Copyright Law is, it’s not the end-all and be-all — there are limits.
That’s where Fair Use comes into play, Fair Use allows limited use of copyrighted material without seeking permission from the copyright holder, typically for purposes such as commentary, criticism, education, or parody.
Because Fair Use is an affirmative defense, the only way to know whether it is in fact, applicable, is to find out in court. But since no one wants to get sued or pay for court, the next best thing is to consult with a copyright expert like Attorney Morin, to get a Fair Use opinion for your company, or your insurance underwriter.
To get a better sense of how Fair Use affects you and your business, it’s recommended to consult a copyright expert like Attorney Morin to show you how to best go about approaching Fair Use. Call us at +1 404-800-5568 and our receptionist will gladly book a complimentary Discovery Call for you over the phone!
The thing is, not everyone is going to be a team player and honor your copyrighted work, that’s when copyright infringement occurs. In short, copyright infringement is when someone uses, reproduces, or distributes your copyrighted work without permission.
For example, another person might use your work without your consent, and get away with it unless you apply for copyright registration of your work and take advantage of the remedies available to copyright owners: a copyright takedown request (if violation of your copyright occurs online), federal court, or administrative small claims proceedings at the Copyright Office.
In the event the infringing party believes there is a permissible basis for not asking your consent to use your work, then that party might make the argument of Fair Use. Having competent copyright counsel represent your claim will help ensure that you address the Fair Use defense and assert your rights.
To get a better sense of how copyright registration affects you and your business, it’s recommended to consult a lawyer like Attorney Morin to register your work and address prospective rights violations. Call +1 404-800-5568 and our receptionist will gladly book a complimentary Discovery Call for you over the phone!
So if you find yourself in this situation, it’s crucial that you take swift steps to protect your rights and seek legal action right away.
But as to what those steps entail, continue reading to empower yourself and guard your creative content.
5 Ways To Protect Your Intellectual Property
1. Register a Copyright
Registering for a copyright with the appropriate copyright office is your first step to defending your business and creative content. So you can establish a public record of prima facie (i.e., meaning from the first impression) ownership, which strengthens your legal position in case of any disputes, and, registration further grants you additional rights and statutory remedies.
Below are resources to support you:
2. Clarify Your Ownership
Having written proof of your ownership minimizes your risk of potential conflicts and ensures that your rights remain secure. Not only that but always review and revise to keep up-to-date, so your back and business are protected at all times.
Proof and documents include:
3. Be Accessible to Contact
Make it easy for people to reach out and ask permission to use your work because it is recorded in the public record at the Library of Congress (which agency keeps all the deposit copies of registered copyrights). By fostering open communication, you decrease the chances of others infringing on your work without consent.
4. Keep Track & Monitor Your Original Works Online
Don’t let anything fall through the cracks and make sure others are in compliance by keeping a record of your original works.
The thing is, not everyone will ask for permission to use your creative content and when that happens, you can take swift action and send a copyright take down notice.
Also known as a cease and desist (C&D) letter/notice, this serves as a formal request for the offender to stop using your copyrighted materials. The C&D must be drafted by an attorney because it may form the basis of future litigation or other small claims proceedings.
However, not everyone will comply and in that case, you’ll want to take further legal action when the offender doesn’t desist.
Not everyone can afford federal court, so the U.S. Copyright Office created the Copyright Claims Board (CCB) to provide monetary relief to those with more modest means. We highly recommend consulting with a copyright lawyer like Attorney Morin to determine whether you might take advantage of the CCB.
5. Speak With An Expert Copyright Attorney
When in doubt, always consult with an expert attorney that understands the United States Copyright Law to the fullest extent.
An experienced copyright attorney can provide invaluable guidance, ensuring that you remain in compliance and fully protected by the law. And they can advise you on other forms of protection, such as trademarks (™), if necessary.
By implementing these strategies and seeking professional guidance when needed, you can fortify your creative journey and ensure your intellectual property protection from potential violators.
Which gives you the peace and mind of thriving in your creative passion and vision with the law on your side. So take this blog as a reminder to take action now, whether on your own or with the expertise of Attorney Morin, to make sure you’re in compliance with the law & fully protected.
Attorney Morin is a copyright expert, speaks, and writes frequently on aspects of United States copyright law. Now are you ready to protect your intellectual property? Call 404-800-5568 and our receptionist will gladly book a complimentary Discovery Call for you.
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Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Consult with Attorney Morin for personalized legal guidance regarding your specific case-by-case situation.