A thorough understanding of copyright law is essential for any business. Copyright infringement can cost your company money whether you are the violator or the victim. New businesses need to be especially careful with their activities to ensure compliance. Overall, copyrighted items are valuable, intangible assets that can increase any company's bottom line.
What is Protected by Copyright?
The terms copyright and trademark are often confused. Copyright deals with tangible mediums containing some form of expression that is referred to as an "original work of authorship." A defining characteristic of a copyrighted item is that it is fixed in nature. This means it is written out, or can be reduced to a preserved on a physical medium such as an audio recording.
The easiest way to understand what copyright covers is to look at some of the most commonly copyrighted items. A business law attorney will probably include books, music, dramatic works, movies and art pieces as the common subjects of copyright. However, each category can be broadened to include other items that reasonably fit under the umbrella.
What Cannot be Copyrighted?
Certain works are excluded from copyright protection. Symbols, logos or designs are more suited for trademark protection rather than copyright. Also, mere ideas or concepts are not tangible enough to be covered by this area of law. Items that are created out of the common knowledge are also precluded from copyright. This includes things such as measurements or widely known facts. Works which are officially produced by the U.S. government also fall outside of copyright law, i.e. a photo by a government employee while on duty.
How Should Your Business Handle Original Works?
If your business produces an item of original authorship it is a good idea to consult a business attorney. An attorney can help you preserve your company's rights over the work. An experienced attorney will also help you minimize any risk of litigation that is related to your work.
If you need copyright assistance in the state of Utah contact the business law attorneys at Spencer and Collier, LLC. Don't get stuck litigating over the ownership of your item. It is important to address copyright issues early on.