What Is Copyright?
The author(s) of original literary, artistic, musical, or other creative works can legally protect their works through copyright law. The creator of a work has a number of exclusive rights in that work, including the rights to reproduce, distribute, demonstrate, perform, and alter the work.
Copyright immediately establishes certain rights when qualifying artistic works are created. These rights include control over how your work is used by others, being acknowledged as the creator, and the ability to make money from the use of your work.
What Does Copyright Protect?
A copyright safeguards original, creative works in various forms. This includes books, articles or essays, poetry, scripts for films, paintings, architectural designs, digital art, source codes, algorithms, etc.
Copyright law aims to protect the expression of ideas, rather than the underlying ideas themselves (which are never protected). It protects creative works by preventing the unauthorized exploitation of these works, and it allows creators to retain ownership, unless they voluntarily assign their rights in the work to another party in an IP assignment agreement.
What Is the Difference Between Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents?
The 3 major forms of intellectual property are:
- Trademarks; and
Patents bestow upon an inventor exclusive rights over their novel inventions. Patent law aims to encourage innovation by protecting inventors’ financial incentives to create.
Trademarks are used to protect signs that distinguish between various goods and services in the market. Trademark law’s goal is to prevent consumer confusion. Trademarked signs can include logos, brands, slogans, trade names, etc.
Copyrights help safeguard the artistic or creative works of individuals, giving it the power to encourage people to create or produce original works in various forms.
Why Register Your Work When Copyright Protection Is Automatic?
Although copyright laws automatically protect original, fixed works, registering your work with the proper copyright office provides several benefits. First, registering your work notifies the public that you own the copyright. It creates a public record of your rights, making it easier for others to find you and request permission for using your work. This discourages potential infringers and reduces the likelihood of legal issues.
Registering your work before any infringement occurs or within a specific timeframe (e.g., within three months of publishing) also grants you additional legal advantages. If someone infringes on your exclusive rights, registration of your copyright allows you to file a lawsuit, seek statutory damages, and request attorney's fees—options that may not be available without registration.
Registering a copyrightable work also establishes a “presumption of validity” of the copyright on your work, making it easier to win disputes, should they arise. When your work is registered, the burden of proof shifts to the other party to prove that your copyright is not valid.
More often than not, your country of residence may be a signatory to various international treaties/agreements that help protect copyrights internationally as well. This means that, if you do register your original work in your country’s copyright office, you can likely enforce your copyright in other countries too!
Finally, copyright registration acts as tangible proof that you are the rightful owner of the original work in question. It provides a record that enforces your rights as a creator and dissuades others from exploiting your work.
With Lawrina’s fully customizable IP assignment agreement template, you can ensure that your ownership rights are safely transferred, and you receive proper compensation.