In this age of instant communication, more ideas and products are being created than ever before. With the current business trend, new business owners are creating never-before-seen content and services to improve the world. With so much going on, it can be easy to create something that mimics another person too closely. Fortunately, there are several steps that can be taken to overcome copyright issues.
1. Get permission from the original owner.
When it comes to using copyrighted content, the only legal way to make use of the content is to contact the original owner and ask for permission. In case this is impossible, there are websites like Creative Commons that offer royalty-free audio and image files that are free for commercial use.
2. Brand and copyright your own content.
If you create something that you intend to turn into a business or income stream, it is important to obtain legal rights to it. While it may be your intellectual property, it can’t stop someone from coming up with a similar idea and starting a business based on it. It is important to register your ideas with trademarks and copyrights to protect them.
3. Obtain a legal copyright.
Intellectual property can be copyrighted simply by placing the copyright symbol in front of it with your name. However, the Copyright Law covers certain subjects over which it is not so easy to claim ownership, including architectural and choreographic works. Speaking with a copyright attorney is the way to go in properly claiming ownership of your own work and avoiding illegal copying of your work.
4. Register your property.
A trademark differs from a copyright mainly in the things it protects. While copyrights are generally used to cover creative work, trademarks are used to protect names, logos, symbols, and other corporate IPs. The property registration process is long and complicated, so it is best to consult a professional. You should first look to make sure there are no trademarks similar to the one you want to file; Even if an existing trademark is not identical, one that is too similar can make it impossible to display.
5. Remember: registration is not absolutely necessary.
Since 1978, there has been no formal requirement in the United States for copyrighted works to carry the copyright symbol. A novel, for example, is protected as soon as it is “saved” to a Word document. That being said, registering your work offers certain protections that proprietary copyrights do not. A person can only sue for copyright issues if their copyright is registered. The restitution that a person can receive for damages will only count after the content is registered, not before.
While it may be an extra step, taking the time to register copyrights and register your property, be it intellectual or physical, can protect it in a way that you cannot claim ownership. Copyright issues can pose a number of problems for content creators or those who want to use content, but knowing how to overcome these issues before they arise can avoid a lot of headaches.