Back to the Basics: What is a Copyright?

A copyright is an often overlooked area of intellectual property law.  Most business owners, individuals, entrepreneurs and small/mid-size companies know that patents and trademark can help increase their number of assets, develop licensing royalties, increase market share, block competitors and a variety of similar business objectives.

However, most business owners, individuals and small/mid-size companies fail to realize that a copyright can help in many of the same ways.  Under 35 USC 106, a copyright grants the author or owner the following: a) the right to reproduce; b) prepare derivative works; c) the right to distribute works; d) the right to perform the work publicly; and d) the right to publicly display the work.

Moreover, owning a copyright is distinct from having a tangible copy of the work.  A copyright can be licensed or transferred in a similar manner to patents or trademark.  A individual, business owner, entrepreneur, small or mid-size company can acquire and register a copyright in a book, song, video, a play, business process manual, a photograph, a logo, a website, computer software, a movie and a variety of other similar works of authorship. 

Upon registering a copyright, you can sue for copyright infringement in federal court, get statutory damages and get attorneys fees for the lawsuit.  To learn more about how copyright law can help you achieve your business objectives please feel free to contact our office.

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