Prior to 1776, my ancestors were book printers in the American colonies. After the Revolutionary War, four generations of men in my family were copyright and patent attorneys including my grandfather. I bring this understanding of copyright into my work by helping business owners protect their intellectual property when they obtain copyrights and patents.
Copyright is something you don’t want to get wrong.
As a small business owner, an author, a musician, or as an individual, you should be aware of how copyright can help you protect your intellectual property—those words you have written, photos you have taken, or music you have composed.
Can the lack of copyright hurt your business? Yes!
What happens if you don’t get copyright? We are seeing more cases of people copying the content of a website and rebranding that content as their own. One pet services business owner discovered his entire website—words, photos, diagrams—had been completely copied by a direct competitor in his niche that was 50 miles away from his office. With the help of an attorney (and $10,0, 00 in fees), he convinced the other business to take down his content on their site. Costly expense!
Can infringing on someone else’s copyright cost you? Yes, it can!
In August 2019, singer Katy Perry lost a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by Flame. “The jury awarded Flame nearly $2.8 million in damages” (Source: https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2019/08/14/katy-perry-dark-horse-copyright-infringement-case).
In 2015, people’s ears perked up at the mention of the word “copyright” when the heirs of Marvin Gaye won $7,400,000.
It turns out that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke infringed on the copyright of Mr. Gaye’s song, “Got to Give It Up.”
What is copyright?
Our founding fathers deemed copyright so important that they included this statement in the U.S. Constitution:
US Constitution. Article I Section 8. Clause 8 – Patent and Copyright Clause of the Constitution. [The Congress shall have power] “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” (Source: https://fairuse.stanford.edu/law/us-constitution/)
Come back for our next exciting blog post on how to obtain copyright!