Friday, October 17, 2008

Knowing and Understanding Copyrights

Copyright infringement and patent infringement are not quite the same thing, although they are based on the same principle, don't steal what isn't yours. Copyright infringement refers to not stealing someone else artistic or intellectual property, such as writings or music while patent infringement refers to refraining from stealing an actual product that doesn't belong to you.

The U.S. Copyright Office is responsible for holding onto the records of everything that has been copyrighted to help ensure that an individual's artistic or intellectual property remains their own. However, it is not legally necessary to register a copyrighted material with the office.

It is sufficient to place the copyright icon in front of a copyright statement and is adequate protection for copyright laws. However, it is still more secure to register copyrighted material with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Copyright infringement is the theft of written, artistic, or intellectually produced material. Copyright infringement differs from patent infringement only in the actual material, which can make determining copyright infringement and patent infringement easier to detect.

In business, it is not so unheard of for advertisement media to be copied, thus becoming a copyright infringement. However, there is a difference between stealing the advertising media which creates the copyright infringement and stealing the icon or symbol used to create consumer recognition which is then a trademark violation.

Patented material, such as the product, is the only avenue which a patent infringement can occur. Why is this important? Because from conception to marketing, to advertising, all the way down to the jingle used in the television or radio campaign, stealing any part of the product, the advertising, the logo, the writing, the product enhancement, or any other related idea as it applies to any particular patented or copyrighted material can mean the end of a company.

These various rules can become confusing and even a little hard to wade through when there are numerous people working on any given project. Thus, enlisting the help of a Copyright attorney may be the only way to make sure all of the potential bases are covered.

A copyright attorney can be influential in preventing copyright infringement via advertisement or other written avenue, such as products that are written materials.

Bearing in mind that all printed materials are typically copyrighted, even if they have failed to register with the copyright office, a copyright attorney can still effectively guide a copy writer from accidentally becoming guilty of copyright infringement.

In most cases, any large company or media of copyrighted materials that are likely to be used beyond basic small press use will be registered with the copyright office, as registering with the U.S.

Copyright Office is a failsafe against copyright infringement. Thus, if a small time writer claims against a big company an explicit use of copyrighted material, but the large company registered with the Office, the small time writer can hold no claim even if they copyrighted their own material, simply because the large company registered with the Office.

While a copyright attorney is likely required to determine the exact definition of the laws as they apply to any given case, the likelihood of being held accountable for a copyright infringement that was not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, and they granted a copyright, there really is no case, regardless of how talented the copyright attorney may be.

The bottom line is still pretty basic, despite the variation in copyright infringement and patent infringement. Hiring a patent or otherwise known as copyright attorney from the beginning of any substantial project is the best protection against being accused of any type of copyright infringement.

Registering a copyright with the copyright office protects the copyrighted material against theft. All of these simple and basic steps should be taken by any company who intends to market a product, whether they anticipate being a small company of local distribution or a large company with global potential.

By registering copyrighted material with them and by hiring a copyright attorney to oversee the basic laws are covered, any company with a marketing plan will know they are protected under copyright infringement laws as well as patent infringement laws.

Without the assistance of a copyright attorney or patent attorney, a business is playing with the potential of an accidental copyright infringement or patent infringement. It is much safer to cover all the bases and protect the company and the brainchild behind the fabulous ideas that can launch a company into the land of happy returns.

About the Author:

Nick Johnson represents individuals or companies with cases involving patent infringement. Find more information at or . Call 1-888-311-5522 to receive a free case evaluation

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