Artists are incredibly creative and brilliantly innovative people.
They can pull ideas and forms out of the nether world and translate their insights into the material world with expertise through their respective medium and talent.
Their music fills our concert halls, their visual innovations greet us every day on everything from soup cans to ads on the Internet and authors of every genre help us to learn and grow by sculpting words into a content that informs and inspires.
Why would they need copyright protection?
Why do jewelers lock up their diamonds inside their own shop? Obviously, it is because valuable things get stolen.
A copyright is a sort of “locked jewel case” that federal law provides for authors to protect their “intangible jewels” or their legal rights in the original works of art they create. “
Part of being a professional creative is protecting your brand – for most of us, this means slapping a copyright notice on the bottom our manuscript pages or stamping a watermark over images we post online.
After all, copyright is implicit in your work from the moment you’ve put pen to paper or raised the viewfinder to your eye.
But putting a copyright symbol on your work doesn’t do a great deal in terms of providing actual protection for your work or your brand – it’s a bit like pushing the lock button on an older car without an alarm system, it’ll keep the honest thieves out but anyone who really wants to steal the car that day is going to pop the lock and drive away with it.
So what can you do about it?
Start by Marking Your Turf
Adding a copyright notice, embedding a watermark and including author information in a digital file are all adequate means of establishing the fact that YOU created something and YOU intend on keeping control over it.
None of these are going to stop a determined copyright violator, especially in a world where the internet encourages the sharing and free exchange of ideas.
Imagine this . . . You have commissioned a graphic designer to come up with the perfect logo for your business.
After a while the designer comes back with your finished logo.
You are perfectly happy.
You pay the money.
The job is complete.
You assume you own the logo and are free to use it anytime, any place, anywhere.
Unfortunately, this may be the start of your troubles, because unless you have a documented transfer of the copyright by way of an assignment from the designer, the logo is still owned by the designer.
The job is, therefore, not finished, as the copyright issues are still hanging in the balance.
Payment Does Not Confer Automatic Copyright or Intellectual Property Ownership
So, this scenario may be extreme, after all, you have commissioned a logo – your brand identity – and what else are you going to do with your brand identify apart from use it wherever and whenever you can?