Why is Copyright Important?

Copyright is an intellectual property right that shields your original creative work from unauthorized use by others. It grants you the exclusive legal right to reproduce your creative content or authorize others to do so. With a copyright, you can publish, display, perform, record, or film the work. You can also create derivative works from the original version. 

The US law recognizes copyrights and only extends the protections to business-related works such as artwork, photographs, books, articles, architectural plans, software code, training manuals, marketing reports, and website designs. Bloomfield Hills business planning attorneys advise that copyright doesn’t protect ideas, facts, systems, or methods of doing things. 

Once you create or register a copyright, you can:

  • Prevent other people from copying your work in competition 
  • Use it to create revenue by directly selling copyrighted products and services. You may also license the copyright to others in exchange for royalties 
  • Create joint ventures and alliances with other organizations or businesses to combine intellectual property with IP owned by the strategic partners 

How Can I Protect My Business from Copyright Infringement?

Copyright infringement happens when someone violates the copyright of your original work. If they sell, distribute, copy, manipulate, or do anything with your work without your permission, they infringe your copyright, and you can pursue legal action against them. Copyright lawyers in Bloomfield Hills highlight two types of copyright infringement:

  • Direct copyright infringement: Someone sells or copies your copyrighted work and directly profits from it. 
  • Indirect copyright infringement: Someone plays an influencing or controlling role in the ability of an infringer to profit from your original work while also benefiting from the infringement. 

As a business owner, you can prevent both types of copyright infringement by taking crucial legal steps to protect your intellectual property. Experienced Bloomfield Hills copyright attorneys can help guide you as you explore and implement the following protections:

Document Your Intellectual Work

In the US, the legal rights associated with copyright take effect when you create intellectual work in a tangible form that someone can see, touch, or hear. Copyright lawyers in Bloomfield Hills recommend retaining a record or proof of the date you created the work in case you encounter a challenge claiming those rights later. 

In the current information age, data leaks are frequent, and you can shield your business against them by recording your discoveries and innovations as they happen. If another company obtains the creation and attempts to recreate your ideas, your records can clarify when you made the invention to prove your legitimacy and ownership rights. 

Register Any Significant Intellectual Property with the US Copyright Office

Registering with the US Copyright Office is one of the fastest ways to protect your copyright claim over any intellectual property. However, formal registration is not a requirement for your work to be protected, but it can go a long way in serving your interests in case of a lawsuit. 

For your creative work to qualify for copyright protection, it must be:

  • Original: Work copied from something else or that doesn’t have any novel components wouldn’t be eligible for copyright protection. 
  • Fixed in a tangible medium: An original idea is not copyrightable unless you put it into a book, poem, essay, musical piece, painting, play, or any other tangible medium. 

Registering your copyright is a mechanism that allows you to enforce your rights in court, although it doesn’t provide any automatic enforcement effects by itself. How and when you register the copyright plays a role in how a lawsuit, if any, plays out. 

Use the Copyright Symbol

While registering and aggressively enforcing a copyright are effective ways to protect your intellectual property, you can take additional steps to strengthen the protection. Displaying the copyright symbol (©) on any work you claim ownership over adds an extra layer of security. 

You can use the symbol on registered and unregistered creative works, as the symbol’s public display implies you’re proactively asserting your rights over the works in question. You can combine the symbol with your name or that of your business to let people know who the owner is. 

Create Agreements with Your Independent Contractors

If your employees or some independent contractors took part in creating all or part of your invention, ensure they understand that the rights they have as “authors” are automatically transferred to you upon completion. The best option is to have them sign an agreement confirming you own any IP rights to the work they produce. 

Experienced Bloomfield Hills copyright attorneys can help you create such agreements to ensure everything is captured as it should. When working with independent contractors, include work-for-hire provisions in the service agreements and engagement letters. 

Understand Fair Use Laws

Copyright doesn’t necessarily mean other people can’t use your original work for any purpose. Instead, they can use it under fair use laws that typically apply when someone uses copyrighted work while adding something to it. For example, quoting someone’s article and using your work to offer a rebuttal is generally considered fair use. 

If you’re concerned that someone used your copyrighted work without regard for fair use, talk to business planning lawyers in Bloomfield Hills for legal counsel. They can evaluate the incident and advise if you need to take any legal steps. 

Protect Your Business Against Copyright Infringement with the Help of a Skilled Copyright Attorney

One of the ways to protect your intellectual property is to use a copyright. Registering a copyright makes enforcing your right to your work less complicated. It sends a message to other people that they can’t use your creations or innovation for their benefit without your permission. If your business has suffered copyright infringement, ask copyright attorneys for legal help. 

The Bloomfield Hills business attorneys at Kendal Law Group can help protect your hard work. We have provided business planning services for many years and know what it takes to ensure a business is well-protected within the confines of the law in Michigan. Call us at 248-609-1718 to schedule a FREE strategy session.