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What steps must you take to protect your company’s creations?

Many businesses establish a brand or generate revenue by creating content. Perhaps you made a new ad for your product and want it to go viral on social media. Maybe you write and publish articles or curate an inclusive collection of unique stock photography useful for professionals building their own websites.

However you create original works and whatever your business model, you will have a vested interest in protecting those creations. Under federal intellectual property laws, your original works have legal protection. Your copyright protections allow you to stop someone else from distributing or profiting off of your original works. What must you do to obtain copyright protection?

Publication leads to copyright in general

The moment you finish a work of art or first publish an original work for the consumption of others, it has the basic protection of copyright in general. By releasing it to the public, you effectively declare yourself its owner or creator from that moment and have the right to protect that original writing, image or video from any unauthorized use by others.

Unfortunately, some people still treat the internet like the wild west. They might use your creative works without your consent. Rather than a review that might involve borrowing a short clip or sampling a few sentences, these individuals reproduce or distribute your work, possibly in its entirety and without any sort of citation to you or your business.

When that happens, registering your copyright is an important step.

Registering a copyright makes it easier to enforce

Although you technically have copyright protection from the moment of publication, registering a formal trademark with the United States Copyright Office will make enforcing your rights that much easier. There will be a federal record of your rights that you can refer to in any court proceedings.

You can serve the other party with notice to cease and desist and potentially file a civil lawsuit to recoup damages suffered because of their infringement. Having registered your copyright will streamline this process, although it isn’t always necessary for the enforcement of your copyright. The volume of creations you produce and the individual importance of each one will likely dictate when you choose to register a copyright.

Learning more about the protections for your intellectual property can help you defend your business’s creations.