An Austin Intellectual Property Lawyer’s Overview of Copyrights

What is a copyright?

A copyright is a form of intellectual property that may  provides legal protection for  “original works of authorship.”

What can be copyrighted?

Original works of authorship that may be copyrighted include literary (books, notes, blogs, etc.), dramatic (plays, movies, YouTube videos), musical (songs, either written or performances), and certain other creative works. If you are a performer you may consider getting a copyright.

What are the differences between a copyright, trademark and patent?

Copyright protects original works of authorship (as noted above), while a patent protect functional features of innovations and trademarks protect words, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others.

Ideas and discoveries are not protected by the copyright law, although the way in which they are expressed may be. For example, a manual describing an invention can be copyrighted.

How do I obtain a Copyright?

A Copyright is secured automatically when a work is created. For example, this blog is automatically copyrighted when I am done typing it. When you create a video with a camcorder you automatically get a copyright. Accordingly, no publication, registration or other action in the Copyright Office is required to secure copyright.  However, you can obtain a formal copyright by registering your original work of authorship with the United States copyright office.

Why should I register my original work of authorship?

Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. The most common being: 1) to create a public record that you are the author of an original work, 2) the ability to sue if someone else infringes on your copyright, works that are registered copyrights are eligible for statutory damages and attorney’s fees if infringement are found, 3) if registration occurs within five years of publication, the registration is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law, this will shift the burden of proof during litigation.

By | 2012-12-11T16:50:59+00:00 October 18th, 2012|Blog, Copyright Basics|Comments Off on An Austin Intellectual Property Lawyer’s Overview of Copyrights