Intellectual property (or IP) is an area of the law which is constantly changing and can be quite complicated. IP rights can usually be allocated to one of the main 4 categories.
One of the main recognisable fields is Copyright. What is Copyright, how do you know if your work can be protected by it and how do you get Copyrights? An Intellectual Property Lawyer will be the best person to advise you. Nevertheless, there is no harm in reading up about IP rights before seeing your solicitor so you have some background knowledge?
What can Copyright protect? Is my work protected by Copyright? These are the basic questions you may ask yourself when you first start dealing with Intellectual Property. Copyright protects:
– literature: for example, lyrics, poems, articles, novels and in some cases databases;
– performing arts: eg a dancer or a mime artist;
– art: eg paintings, photography, maps, engravings, designs;
– typographical arrangements and layouts: for example a novel or any other published work;
– recordings: for example movie scripts, broadcasts and music.
If your creation or work falls into one of these categories, you can be protected by copyright. An Intellectual Property Lawyer will help you with the steps and also to register for other rights your IP might be eligible for.
Once registered, anyone wanting to use or copy your work will have to ask for your permission first. This type of permission means that they can then use your work for all sorts of things i.e. publishing on a website or using your song on an advert.
Consider the fact that Copyright does not protect plain unfixated ideas. For your idea to be protected it has to be put in writing.
As well as your work being protected by Copyright, your IP lawyer will discuss any other potential rights you may have acquired. For example, if the work is a compilation i.e. like an album, then you might have to apply for individual rights. Talk with your intellectual property lawyer about exactly what rights you may be entitled to and what benefits these will bring in for you.
Getting the right intellectual property advice at an early stage is a simple step but one which could save you a lot of heartache, distress and profit or royalties should your material be stolen or abused by infringement on copying. Talk the issues over with specialist Intellectual Property Lawyer before going ahead with your project to make sure you are fully protected.