Should You Copyright: When is it Wise to Get Protection?
When we think of copyrights, most people visualize creative people, such as writers, musicians, and artists protecting their creative works. Certainly, such creators want to protect their original works from being used without their consent, but that’s not the only way in which copyright laws prove beneficial. As a business, you might find that legal and copyright protection become necessary for you to survive.
Businesses Benefit From Copyright Laws Too
Many businesses don’t realize their creative works should be protected as well. You create copies for ads and product descriptions, create videos and audio recordings for promotional purposes, and develop artistic images for the purposes of establishing a brand. All of these works and more are original creations and should be protected by copyright.
This isn’t just a matter of pride in one’s work. It can be a matter of corporate security, when considering the availability of technical manuals, blueprints, recipes, and other documents directly related to your business. Unprotected, anyone may obtain these items and freely use them for their own financial gain. Additionally, customer databases should also be copyrighted. If not, a competitor may get a hold of that database and lure your loyal customers or clients away.
What Does a Copyright Do for You?
Most people have a basic understanding of what protections a copyright provides, but a more detailed look may help to establish why they’re so important. Once a work has been copyrighted, the owner of the copyright (your business in this case) has complete control over how the work is duplicated, used, distributed, or altered. This helps to ensure your approval is needed in order for commercial use of the work to be legal.
What it Doesn’t Do
This is not to say no one can ever use the work without your permission. Laws do allow individuals and organizations to use copyrighted material, but only where no profit or gain is achieved through the use of the work. This means the material can be used for educational purposes, private use, and in reviewing the work.
Individual or Collective
In referring to individuals, the artist owns the copyright to his or her own work, but what happens when more than one individual created the work? Under such circumstances, the copyright application allows for multiple persons to be listed as collaborators on the work. This gives all parties involved in the material’s creation joint ownership. As a business this might get tricky, but the basics stay the same.
Who Holds Design Rights?
When it comes to one entity creating a work for another business, the creating agency is the one who holds the right to the work. In one example, a business may hire a web design firm to create a website. Except where a contract between the two entities states otherwise, the web design firm retains the ownership rights to website. In many cases, the contract does transfer ownership of the website, once it has been completed, however.
This is just a brief overview of current copyright laws and procedures. An experienced intellectual property attorney can provide a more in depth look at the rule of copyrights. Additionally, an attorney can help you obtain copyrights for your company’s documents and creative works. Copyright laws exist to protect creators and owners of intellectual properties from theft. Just as you wouldn’t allow someone to come into your business and walk off with your products, neither should you tolerate unfair use of your intellectual properties. Obtaining a copyright gives you added protection and establishes proof of ownership in the event that an unauthorized use does occur.