As a creative professional, it’s important to have a clear understanding of copyright law. Unfortunately, the word “clear” and copyright law don’t typically go together hand-in-hand.
With so much confusion, it’s easy to make mistakes that put your work at risk. However, there are some copyright tips you can follow to give you peace of mind:
- Use a copyright notice: No matter what, make sure you add a copyright notice to your work, especially before you share it with somebody else. While it’s not required, it’s a good habit to get into as it gives others a clear idea that the work is yours.
- Know what you can and can’t copyright: You can’t copyright everything, such as ideas and well-known symbols, including letters and numbers. Instead, copyrights are designed for original work.
- You can transfer the rights of a copyright: Most people don’t have intentions of doing so, but it could be necessary in the future, such as if you sell your business or pass on. You can transfer your copyright, but it must be done in writing.
- You must register your copyright: Simply using the copyright symbol is not good enough. You must register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. Not only does it formalize your copyright, but it also allows you to take action in the event of infringement.
- Copyright laws vary from country to country: Just because you have a copyright in the United States doesn’t mean it extends into other countries. If this is important to you, learn more about foreign copyright laws. You can then make a decision as to the countries in which you want to seek copyright protection.
These copyright protection tips will help you protect your creative works, while also giving you peace of mind.
Unfortunately, even if you have a registered copyright, it doesn’t necessarily mean you never have to worry about infringement. There will always be people who believe they can use your work without your permission.
If you find yourself in this position, learn more about your legal rights and how to protect them. You take great pride in your creativity, so don’t let someone else steal it from you.