Three reasons for copyright protection

One of the main types of intellectual property, copyright is automatically applied to any work that is an original creation and not a duplication.

It is important to note that copyright protects the way an idea is presented, rather than an idea itself; for instance if it is committed to paper or other piece of media. 

So what makes having copyright protection so important? Surely if it happens automatically you don’t have to worry about it? While it’s true that your work gets automatic protection, that doesn’t mean that people won’t copy your work for their own gain. Your copyright may be worth more than you think, so it’s important to properly consider the reasons for keeping on top of your property. 

Your work is an asset 

If you have an original idea or piece of creative work, no matter what others may say, it’s still a potential asset and should be treated as such. Your work can end up having considerable value in the future and can even potentially be used for financial collateral.  There is also the concept of copyrights as a legacy as they can last for decades, passed down as part of an estate. For literary, musical or artistic works, copyrights can last a further 70 years after the death of the original creators death and in broadcast or publishing cases this time period extends to 50 years.   

Protect your rights 

If someone infringes your copyright, you will have legal grounds to pursue the guilty party to either pay you for a license, or compensate you for any financial loss you may have incurred. If they are using your work without your knowledge, you are well in your rights to stop them doing so and receive compensation for any earnings they have made off the back of your work. If you do see that someone is using your work without your knowledge or permission, we recommend consulting one of our IP experts about what legal recourse you can take.   

Licensing is the way forward 

If you have copyrighted works that has attracted the interests of other parties, you can explore your licensing options to make sure you can financially benefit from their use. Licensing is a legal authorisation from you to another party that permits them to use some (or all) of your copyrighted works. Licensing is also an effective way to increase the legal protection around your idea, and can be used as evidence against another party who does not fulfil their part of the deal or is using your work without permission.   The above are just a few broad areas why you should take an active interest in your intellectual property, even if you think it is already protected. Copyright infringements happen every day, so stay on top of your intellectual property protection and take proactive steps to ensure your rights are looked after.   

If you’re just setting out in business and you’re concerned that your depth of understanding of UK copyright laws are inadequate, don’t panic: Our workshop ‘How does copyright affect my business?’ is geared towards innovators and entrepreneurs looking to protect their creations, from photography and music to poetry and software. Our in-depth workshop will demonstrate how copyright is applicable to everything from your website and business brochures to flyers and any other business collateral where you may use copyrighted material. 

 

See also

Protecting your ideas

Plan to grow your business

Plan to start your business