The most frequent question I get about copyright law is simply, “what is a copyright?” A copyright must be original. That means you didn’t copy it and you created it on your own. Copyright protection protects the authors’ creative expressions of their ideas in whatever tangible form the expression might take place. Copyright does NOT protect ideas themselves. So that is either books, poetry, song, choreography, etc. The Copyright office provides several different categories in which creative works may fall into. Keep in mind it protects the expression and not the idea. Some people approach with ideas and say, “hey I have this idea for a book, I want to copyright it.” The first thing I would ask the client is have you written the book?
Copyright protection or any other intellectual property protection, although it is intellectual, it has to be in a tangible form in order for it to actually be protected because the government wants to know that it exists and that you have already used it in commerce in some form or fashion.
With copyright, you get automatic protection as soon as you write the book, as soon as you create that work. However, in order to get the most protection of your work and the built-in damages that are required under the law you have to protect it through the Copyright Office. Also, by registering it with the Copyright office, you put the government and others on notice that you created the work. Think of it as getting the birth certificate for your newborn child.
How long does a Copyright last?
Haha! Just kidding. Unfortunately, a Copyright does not last forever. A Copyright lasts for the life of the Copyright author if it is an individual person, plus an additional 70 years. However, if a Copyright was created under your company, it will last between 95 and 120 years.
Can my ideas be protected?
There is this cute little concept in America called “Free Enterprise.” Essentially, this means you are free to compete with other companies under similar business models. With that being said, NO, ideas cannot be protected. Think about McDonald’s, Checkers, and Burger King. There was a multitude of people that had an idea of a fast food restaurant. However, McDonald’s couldn’t stop Burger King from operating simply because it was a fast food restaurant. However, there are processes that McDonald’s put in place that Burger King could not implement and so did Checkers. These processes are considered trade secrets. This means that your recipes and some internal policies must remain a secret. So remember, the fact that you have an idea for a specific company cannot be protected at all. But the processes that you have in place within that company that sets you apart from other companies can be protected by way of copyright.
I protected my name under Trademark law, I am good right?
In an era of creators, Copyright protection is vital. It goes beyond just protecting the name of your company, products, or services. Copyrights protect the contents of your work. The things you produce on a daily basis as a creative. Be it writing books, creating songs, mobile applications, creating a curriculum for your courses, and even writing blogs. These are all things that require Copyright protection.
I am extremely passionate when it comes to my clients and their work. I want nothing more than to see them flourish in their endeavors. Because of that, I created this Masterclass.