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New business owners may fall victim to this copyright myth

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2024 | Uncategorized

Protecting intellectual property is very important for businesses. Whether an organization is a small sole proprietorship where the owner publishes their own works of fiction or a plumbing company that paid a local musician to write a jingle, those intellectual property resources can help a company stand out from its competitors and generate revenue.

Copyright protection is crucial for those invested in creative works. Copyright protections prohibit outside parties from republishing or profiting off of works created or owned by others. Unfortunately, there are a few copyright myths that continue to persistently spread, and those myths might lead to an entrepreneur failing to secure the protection they need.

The poor man’s copyright is not a real thing

For decades, writers and other creative professionals have told one another that they can protect their works by obtaining a poor man’s copyright. This term refers to the practice of mailing a copy of an original work to oneself.

A novelist might print and send their entire book to themselves in the hopes of preventing publishing company employees or proofreaders from stealing their work or their ideas. What these creative professionals do not realize is that the poor man’s copyright is not a legitimate form of intellectual property protection. Proof that someone mailed a work to themselves will generally not help that party protect their intellectual property or take legal action against those infringing on it. Instead, all it may do is give someone a false sense of security.

How do entrepreneurs secure copyright protection?

There are two primary means of obtaining copyright protection for a creative work. The first involves publishing the work. Sharing something online or otherwise making it available to the public can allow someone to secure copyright protection beginning on the date of publication.

In scenarios where the creative work represents a massive investment or a potentially significant source of future revenue, entrepreneurs and business owners and may want to formally register the original work with the United States Copyright Office. Doing so helps ensure that they can take legal action if necessary because an outside party republished or attempted to profit off of their original works.

Learning more about how to effectively protect intellectual property can be of the utmost importance for business owners intending to profit off of creative works or use them for marketing purposes. Those familiar with copyright rules can more readily protect their creations and investments.