Copyright Registration

 

Copyright, Trademark, and Intellectual Property for Designers

 

Lesson Info

Copyright Registration

This is something that is really important for all creatives, but as a designer you're gonna have some interesting things. There are things that you can copyright and there things that you can't that you create as a designer, so I want to show you what you can and can't copyright, but let's start with talking about the benefits of copyright registration now most people who are entrepreneurs or designer to any type of creative you've heard of copyright registration and, you know, your understanding of copyright is that you have automatic common law copyright in anything that you create and that's actually true, the problem is, is that that doesn't provide a whole lot of protection, and you don't get any of the benefits of copyright registration when you just rely on common law copy, right? So let's, talk about the benefits of actually federally registering your copyrights with the u s copyright office. So you put the world on notice that you are the creator and owner of the work so that...

's one thing you're providing notice that could be really important in certain circumstances where you want if you have an instance of copyright infringement notice will determine how much your damages will be right, so if the world was on notice, your damages khun b in the hundreds of thousands statutory damages automatically if the court finds that there was willful copyright infringement okay, now, if the world was not on notice, then it would be only thirty thousand dollars, for instance, so, you know, still decent sum of money, but not quite as much, right? If someone stealing your work on dh, taking away your ability to generate revenue from that work, obviously, you know, if you have to take them in court, you want to get the top dollar in damages. So this is one way that benefits you is that it's considered, people are considered to be on notice for registrations, copyright registrations, you create an official government record of your creation and ownership of the work, so you essentially are creating a birth certificate for the work that you're copyrighting. So if you ever have to prove it to someone, if you're licensing the work to somebody else, if you decide to sell the work in some way, you have a easy way to transfer that work, right? Because you have that copyright certificate and you can transfer it. There's, a form that you fill out with the u s copyright office to transfer ownership on dh so that's an easy way for you to facilitate the transfer of ownership of that content you get to bring a federal lawsuit is another benefit you can actually bring a cop federal copyright infringement lawsuit, unless you actually have filed an application and received the registration for the content that you are claiming that has been infringed okay, so you actually have to register the copyright first before you can bring a federal lawsuit now you could bring a lawsuit in the state courts but you don't have access to statutory damages and attorney's fees which is what you get when you bring it in federal court so that's why copyright registration is really important and honestly even if you have no intentions of going to court ever which most of us is entrepreneurs would like that to happen right? We'd liketo always avoid going to court so even if you never go to court this could be really effective as a deterrent for would be infringers who would steal your stuff there are a lot of, you know, copyright infringers who are sort of professionals I mentioned you know, when we first opened this course in we talked about how that's a whole industry right? So there are very professional copyright infringers out there and they know whether your work is registered or not. So this gives a signal to people who might steal from you that you are not a victim and you've got somebody that they can easily steal from ok, so that's a way to really deter people from even even stealing from you they'll go on and move on to somebody else who stuff is way easier to steal so those are some of the benefits of copyright registration and just understand that copyright registration is actually an asset within your business it's a way for you to show people that look I've got all of these assets sitting in my business and that's where the value is ok? S o it's important if you ever want to get a bank loan or take on an investor or if you just need to prove you know, for buying a home or any reason why you need to prove the value of your company the intellectual property that sitting in it that shows the value those air assets and so copyright registration is a way for you to show that and it's really inexpensive to do it's literally a fifty five dollars application in some cases the fee is thirty five dollars so it's a cheap application I'm going to show you exactly how to do it so you can do it yourself and don't have to pay a lawyer to do it. Okay, so if you do that, you're building up assets in your business and have this sort of, you know, paper trail of these assets so let's talk about what you can protect on dh can't protect as a designer with copyright, there are things like bit met phones, typefaces, templates and sort of layouts of web site these are things that aren't copyright protectable common shapes our copyright protectable functional designs are in copyright protectable you'd actually protect that with a design patent so you would use a design patent to protect a functional sort of like industrial design, useful articles like clothing or furniture, the design of that would actually be protected with again design patent rather than a copyright and then, of course, ideas. If it's just a new idea in your head, you can't protect it with copyright, you actually have to put it into some sort of tangible form that can be uploaded to the corporate offices website here's. What you actually can protect, though you can protect scaleable fonts, the underlying code in typefaces, the underlying code in your templates, forms and layouts, I have a client who has a really, really high end design shop, and I'm talking, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars to create websites for really big companies, ok, so that's how much they charge their big shop. Now they have a theme that they have developed that's, a really custom thing that has a lot of unique features that they use as sort of the basis to build all of their clients work they have registered the copyright for that code that creates that theme, so that way that code is protected and it's not something that another design shop can then just steal unfortunately, this is an area that sort of there's a lot of discussion about it because some say, well, hey, if I registered my code that I'm sort of giving that code away and creating a situation where another shop find that code through the copyright office and then maybe make some sweets and changes to change it just enough to not be considered copyright infringement now that's true and that, you know, it's possible that something like that could happen, but for the most part, copyright registration actually does really protect you. So if you registered the code on dh, someone make some small changes it's still considered a derivative work from your code right that you registered so you'd still be able to bring a claim again against them for copyright infringement. So my stance on it is, is that it's better to protect it? Thehe copyright registration than to not. So, like I said, you actually can't protect sort of the layouts itself, but you can protect the code that makes the underlying layout you can protect original art, ornamental designs, html, css s o these air some of the unique things that that you can protect as a designer so you might not be able to protect sort of. The layout of a website per se but you can definitely protect your underlying templates that you're creating custom so the way to think about this is that are you creating something that's unique enough that somebody else couldn't just you know, think of immediately you don't want it to be common knowledge you don't want it to be sort of common shapes you wanted to be custom enough so here's an example of that these air to logo it's right this is a logo created by a designer that you know obviously is illustrated it's it's you know she actually did this in watercolor s o it's really, really custom right that's definitely something that would be protectable and copyright whereas this this is a logo that you know is very familiar right it's the new york times logo and it's just a font so this in and of itself wouldn't be registry able it would only be register rubble if it became sort of famous enough that it was associated with a particular company in which case the new york times you know is in that situation right? We all know it it's a big company and its well known and they sort of made this logo famous um but I just want to show you an example of if you do something that if you create a logo for someone that's just basically taking a basic fund and riding out their name in that font, and maybe putting a triangle with it. That's. A very familiar shape. That's. Probably not going to be something that's protectable. What if you're doing something like this? Where it's a really custom design? It is protectable.

Class Description

Your designs are just that – yours. Do you have the legal knowledge and skill to protect your intellectual property, copyright, and trademarks?

Join Rachel Rodgers for a deep dive into the intellectual property concepts every designer should know. You’ll learn about properly copyrighting your work, creating client service agreements, preventing infringement, and much more.

No matter what kind of design you do, you’ll leave this class equipped and inspired to protect your unique work.

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