What copyright and how does it protect intellectual property?


For some small business owners in Louisiana, the purpose of his or her company is to sell or distribute the work he or she created. The success of their company relies on the continual production or use of their work; therefore, it is essential for a business owner to take certain steps to protect this work. With regards to intellectual property, this means establishing copyright protection.

What is a copyright and how does it protect intellectual property? In order to understand the mechanism of protection a copyright could provide, it is important to recognize what intellectual property is. Intellectual property refers to the creations of the mind. In other words, these are inventions, literary and artistic works, names and images used in commerce.

A copyright provides the owner of the work in question the exclusive right to reproduce, publish or sell their work. While this provides direct protection and rights, copyright law does not cover the form of material expression. This means that it does not cover the actual concepts, ideas, techniques or facts used in the work. In order for a copyright to provide protection, the work must be in a tangible form. This means that a story must be in written form, a painting must be on canvas or an invention must be written down and patented.

While copyright laws provide the owner specific rights to protect the time, effort and creativity put forth in developing the work, there are several reasons to establish a copyright. A copyright allows the owner to reproduce their work, prepare derivative works, distribute copies of their work, perform their work publicly and display their work publicly. Additionally, a copyright provides an owner with rights if a dispute evolves around his or her intellectual property. It provides mechanisms to resolve business law issues or even the means to initiate business litigation to enforce the owner's rights.

Those dealing with copyright issues or other business law issues pertaining to intellectual property should understand that they have recourses available. This not only protects the work of the owner but also provides options to collect damages when copyright infringement occurs.

Source: Smallbusiness.findlaw.com, "What is a Copyright?" accessed June 19, 2016

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