There is an ancient Chinese saying that goes like this “A journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step.” The same can be said of your journey as a business owner or freelancer: there is one important first step that is vital for you to take very early in the journey. This step helps make sure that your journey goes the distance. Every creative freelancer or business owner must protect their intellectual property.
Intellectual Property is an area of law that deals with protecting the theft or unauthorized use of creative work. Intellectual property laws were established as a means of protection for creative work. In effect, it encourages artistic expression, new technological developments and inventions. The more you as a creator know these laws, the more leverage you will have to exercise your Legal right to profit from your production, the way you choose.
Protecting Your Work The United States Patent Office is the authorized federal agency that grants and enforces copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Copyrights If you are an expressive artist such as a writer, painter, photographer, copyrights protect your work. Copyrights give you, the owner, the right to display or perform your work publicly and create other works called derivative works. Most importantly, copyright owners have economic rights that allow them to earn money from their work. This protects them from other who try to use their creative works without the owner’s permission. However, copyright only protects how an idea is expressed and not the idea itself. Two people can write an opinion piece about the same topic without infringing on each other’s copyrights, but if one person were to copy parts of the other’s content and spun it off as his own, well that would be considered illegal. Creatives can file online with the United States Copyright Service that is part of the Library of Congress.
A single work begins at $35 and you can even file online. Filing is the best defense against infringement. Without a copyright it can be confusing as to whose creative idea was first. If a copyright is violated and you suffer an economic loss or loss of reputation, the first thing your lawyer will ask you is, “Can I see your copyright?”
There are two other measures that creative entrepreneurs take to protect their intellectual property rights, they are, 1. Patents; and 2. Trademarks Both processes are very complicated and the US Patent and Trademark Office advises that applicants use an attorney for both processes. Patents Patents protect your intellectual property by protecting an invention. According to the Patent Office, “Applying for a patent successfully requires a strong understanding of the application process. This is the first step to a successful application.” If you are a novice with the patent process look to online sources about the process so you are familiar with deadlines, types of patents and more. The USPTO is an excellent place to start. Once you grasp the basics of the process, you can begin the application process. Trademarks Trademarks are the unique signature of your company. It is often a logo that when seen immediately bring your company to mind. It is used on stationery, trucks, business cards, shipping containers and more. Trademarks are issued by the USPTO. When applying for a trademark keep the following in mind from the online filing page, for trademarks. “OVERALL PROCESS: The trademark registration process is a legal proceeding that may be complex and require you to satisfy many requirements within strict time deadlines.” All your hard work is valuable and your Intellectual property needs protection. Online legal services are there to help you but they are more preventative in nature. There is one website called ContentMutual.com that allows allow you to manage your copyrighted works the way you want. They enable you to control where your content is allowed to appear and they also enable you to make money from your creative copyrighted endeavors. If you’re an avid content creator, author, blogger or the occasional journaler, your ideas and opinions are automatically copyrighted by the laws in the United States. Platforms like ContentMutual.com empower you to profit off of the copyrights you own on the open market.
Author: Joerg Joergensen
Have worked in banking, retail, wholesale, technology, and the for-profit education industries in the United States and Europe. Extensive experience in developing business plans and conducting financial analysis. Proven leader of accounting and finance department teams resulting in improved operational efficiency and increased profitability.
- Budgets to drive strategic initiatives and control current operations
- Business plans, including all financial forecasts
- Expense reduction initiatives resulting in increased profitability and cash-flow
- Business analysis and external business valuations
- Creation of meaningful reports
- Development of internal policies and procedures
- Mentoring and training of in-house staff
- Creation and administration of stock option plans
- Mergers and acquisitions