With the ease of communication created by the Internet, the dilemma of protecting a person’s intellectual rights has become a major concern for most innovative minds. With such powerful communication tools at our hands, it is a must for every person to ensure the safety of their intellectual property. For your business, it is important to copyright any new ideas you are working on in order to prevent competition. Copyrighting the fruit of your creative ideas open up a new business venture where you may allow other businesses to use your material for a royalty fee. 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. Copyrighting is an essential part of any innovative content creator since others might try to copy you. This article aims to walk you through how to copyright content as well as the importance of copyright.
What Are Copyrights?
The regulation of copyrights may vary from country to country; however, it remains fundamentally the same. Copyrights ensure the author’s right to claim ownership and consequently control its use and modification. It is a proof of ownership that allows you to deal with anyone attempting to copy your hard work or profit off of it. By removing the worry related to losing your hard work, it becomes much easier for you to be creative. By default, any unique idea that is turned into content is protected by copyright. An idea by itself cannot be copyrighted since it was not developed into a product which is counter-intuitive to productivity. 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.
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 content.
1- Make Sure Your Content Is Published
Before you can ask “How to copyright this content?” you must first make sure that it is eligible. The first step is to ensure that your content is properly published according to the laws. 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 (whether that be free or paid.) Sharing your work with certain organizations 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 answer to “How to obtain a copyright” is simple. 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. In the US, registration will cost you $35-$65 per piece depending on the necessary paperwork. However, you may get a discount when registering multiple pieces at once. Registration may be done online and once you send the necessary copies of your work to the library of congress, your work will officially be recognized and protected by the US copyright law and all partners of the treaty. Afterwards, your copyright will be officially recognized 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 for $140.
6-What Isn’t Protected by Copyright?
A work may become available for use again after certain criteria are met. In this case, that work is considered to be “public domain.” Here is how a work becomes public domain:
- Any work published before 1923 in the US
- Copyright is past its maximum duration from the year of publication
- Copyright has not been renewed
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.