Four Types of Content 👌🏿 You Could Protect With A Copyright Registration
Technology companies worried about protecting company IP due to cost can breathe a sigh of relief. Sci-tech companies don’t always need to rely on expensive utility patents to protect company intellectual property. In many instances, trademarks, trade secrets, design patents, trade dress protection, and copyright registrations can be useful as well in protecting a company's competitive advantage.
What Is A Copyright?
As to copyrightable content, establishing a copyright is fairly straightforward. You establish a copyright when an “original work of authorship is fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” That simply means when you’ve created content like a book, video, website, etc. in a fixed medium such as online, written, or some other “tangle” medium- voila, you have established a copyright. Copyrights exist in literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright DOES NOT protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although copyright may protect the way these things are expressed (See USCO).
What Do Copyrights Protect?
So you’re probably wondering, what rights you actually have when you’ve established the copyright. Here’s the run down. The owner of a copyright has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:
Reproduce the copyrighted work 👈🏿
Prepare derivative works 👈🏿
Distribute the work to the public 👈🏿
Perform the work 👈🏿
Display the work 👈🏿
When you apply to register a work with the U.S. Copyright Office and obtain a copyright registration, you can sue in a court of law for copyright infringement. That means you can enforce your copyrights to enjoin (making someone do/or not do something), for damages (money), and for costs (attorney’s fees and court costs to enforce your rights).
The Supreme Court Has Spoken: No Litigation Before Registration
Whether or not copyright owners needed the registration or only needed an application for registration before enforcement was a point of contention and disagreement among the appellate courts for many years. Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the issue and held that to enforce a U.S. copyright, the copyright owner needed to have a copyright registration.
So while a copyright is established the moment you fix the content in a tangible form, you can’t enforce your U.S. copyrights in a court of law without a registration. And since obtaining a copyright registration is relatively inexpensive and fast, shame on you if fail to take this step. Let us help you register your company’s copyrights.
View the webinar slides 👇🏿!
Sci-tech startups have a lot of tools to use when it comes to protecting what makes the company unique and special. Everything should be on the table when analyzing what to protect and when. Sci-tech investors want to see that a company has taken some action to protect the company’s competitive position. And because copyright registrations can provide a lot of bang for the buck, why wouldn’t you start building your company’s IP portfolio with a few strategic copyright registrations 🤔?
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Angela Grayson, CIPP/US, CLP is an author, speaker, and lawyer. She is the Principal and Founder of Precipice IP, PLLC. Angela is a patent, trademark, copyright, and technology law attorney with almost 20 years of experience helping science and technology companies protect products, brands, designs, and data from idea to launch.
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