Understanding Copyright Protection

Intellectual property law grants legal rights for producers of creative works. There are four types of legal protection for creative inventions. Trade secret laws protect information. Trademark laws protect brands. Patent laws protect the functional aspects or ornamental features of a product or design, depending on the classification of the patent. Copyright laws protect fixed and tangible works of authorship, including design.

Copyright protection is relatively easy to attain. One can register and include a symbol in the work. However, copyright registration or the use of the symbol is not required for ownership protection. It is more of a formal gesture to perform these actions in current times. The creation of a tangible product grants immediate legal rights to the producer.

A license is a contractual agreement that grants the licensee terms of use for a product created by the licensor. The owner sets the terms of the license. The terms can encompass product use, sell, or rights to copy. For example, a license may allow the use of a customizable course to instruct employees or any non-commercial utilization. However, the license may prohibit the sale of the course. To be clear, whether the replication or use of the product without a license involves a profit-oriented or noncommercial application, the owner can sue. The violator could be liable for up to $150,000 in damages. There is a solution for those wanting to use work created by others. Copyright protection is not available for content in the public domain and is available for use without consent.