With the rise of the internet, protecting intellectual property has become more difficult. As a business owner, it’s important that you know how to copyright your assets, in order to protect your interests.
Copyrighting your creative works also opens up new streams of revenue in the form of royalties. Royalties are usually a percentage of sales that goes out to you.
Additionally, owning copyright acts as a proof of concept that makes your business much more appealing to potential investors as it shows that they are funding new unique content that is exclusive to your business.
It also protects you from having your work stolen.
Copyrighting is an essential part of any innovative content creator since others might try to copy you. It’s also one of the trickiest areas of ethics and legalities in digital marketing.
This article aims to walk you through how to copyright content as well as the importance of copyright.
What is Copyright Protection?
Copyright protection varies from country to country. However, the basic idea remains the same. Copyrights ensure the author’s right to claim ownership and consequently control its use and distribution.
It is a proof of ownership that allows you to deal with anyone attempting to copy your hard work. By removing the worry related to losing your intellectual property, it becomes much easier for you to be creative.
By owning the copyright, you may use, reproduce and sell that content. Additionally, anyone who wishes to use your content must seek your permission and share profits. In most countries, your copyright will last for the author’s life plus 70 years.
So, now that we have identified copyrights, let’s learn about how to copyright content by registering it with the relevant bodies.
What Kind of Material Can You Copyright?
Copyright generally applies to creative works. This includes the likes of books, plays, music and images. The underlying idea cannot be copyrighted, only the final concrete work. So J.K. Rowling owns the copyright to Harry Potter, but not to the idea of a wizard school.
How to Copyright and Register Content
This might seem like a complicated process, but once you understand the necessary steps and the agencies involved it becomes as simple as filing any regular paperwork. Now, let us begin on the road of how to copyright and register your content.
Luckily, this is not a particularly complex process. Still, it’s important to know what you’re doing. Let’s take a look at how to register a copyright in five easy steps.
1. Make Sure Your Content Is Published
Before you can ask you must first make sure that it is eligible. The first step is to ensure that your content is properly published in the eyes of the law.
Your content may be considered as published once it is available to the public with no restrictions.
In other words, anyone who is interested in consuming your content should be able to have access to it. This can be free or paid. Sharing your work with certain organisations exclusively does not count as publishing and leaves your content at risk.
2. Let People Know It’s Protected
Despite it no longer being a necessity, it is generally a good idea for you to include a copyright notice with your work.
Basically, a copyright notice is a reminder that your content is protected under the copyright law against plagiarism. It is a reminder that no one is allowed to reproduce, store or distribute it.
A valid copyright notice must contain the following.
- Contact details for people to reach you with any proposals regarding your content.
- The copyright icon(©).
- Date of publishing.
- Author Name(s).
3. Registering a Copyright
The actual process of registering a copyright is similar. All you need to do is fill in the relevant forms and attach a sample of your work to your country’s respective copyright office.
Registration may be done online and once you send the necessary copies of your work to the copyright office, your work will officially be recognised and protected by copyright law.
Afterwards, your copyright will be officially recognised by the law and you will receive your certificate containing registration date and number of your work within 4 months.
4. How to Copyright Internationally
Many countries share similar laws regarding copyrights. However, in order to ensure that your copyright is protected in most countries, the Berne Convention treaty was created.
This treaty entails that all involved parties must abide by their regulations which are made to protect your intellectual property. Registering in a country that is a part of the Berne treaty means that your work is protected in all involved countries.
This is what makes the country you are registering in one of the most factors regarding an “international copyright.”
5. What Is Pre-Registration?
A recent development of copyrights in order to protect pieces of work that are prone to being stolen due to requiring an extended amount of time to produce.
This may be considered a temporary placeholder copyright in order to protect the author’s intellectual rights while they are still working on the content. However, the work must not be published but is in the process of being prepared for commercial distribution.
This is not an alternative to registering a copyright and merely acts as a placeholder to defend your property until your work is published and properly registered. If your product fits the pre-registration requirements then you may do so online.
How to Copyright: Key Takeaways
Registration keeps your intellectual property safe by making sure that it is not plagiarized. Knowing how to copyright might seem daunting at first but ultimately it is quite simple.
All you have to do is to fill the necessary forms online, pay the fees and you will be the holder of a registered copyright. Afterwards, all you have to do is include a copyright notice in your work to remind people that they may not use your work without permission.
Copyright laws have been streamlined and thanks to the Berne convention, they span across hundreds of countries. This has made maintaining your intellectual property an easy task which promoted productivity and innovation.