If you create an artistic expression, you may consider applying for a copyright to protect your work from infringement. A copyright covers tangible art pieces, such as movies, architecture, poems, musical compositions, photographs, paintings, illustrations, books, computer programs and sound recordings.
Copyrights are a type of intellectual property, along with patents and trademarks, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The USPTO has laws in place to protect intellectual property, including copyrights for small businesses.
Once you create your art, your piece is protected under copyright law. This allows you to do the following:
- Display or perform the work in public
- Distribute copies of the work to others
- Prepare subsequent works based on the original piece
- Reproduce the work
As a copyright owner, you may choose to allow others to perform these duties as well. For example, you may give someone the authority to reproduce your music or art.
Copyright law protects your work throughout your lifetime and an additional 70 years after death.
Although it is not mandatory, registering your copyright provides added benefits. A registered copyright is listed in the licensing marketplace and allows consumers to find your information. It also tells the public that your work is copyrighted and may not be duplicated without your permission.
Copyright infringement occurs when someone uses your work without your permission. If your work has a registered copyright, you are able to take legal action and seek monetary compensation.
Taking care of your artistic works is important for many, especially if their art is a means of income and a way to leave their personal mark on the world.