By Kathy Bazan, Business Recovery Center Consultant
In my last blog post, I covered the history of copyright and why it’s important to your business. Now, let’s discover how to protect your work with copyright.
What does this mean for you as a small business owner?
It means that you have the option of protecting through copyright the photographs you have taken, the words you write for your website, literary works you create (e.g., novels, plays or screenplays, autobiographies, short stories, sagas, poetry, songs, musical compositions), as well as computer software and architectural drawings.
Do you have an option to get official copyright?
Yes. There are two types of copyright: “poor man’s copyright” and official copyright.
While you have “poor man’s copyright” on any words you have written, poor man’s copyright is NOT defendable in court. If someone swipes your words and uses them on their website, you have no legal recourse.
However, you have an option: as the Business Recovery Center Consultant, I can help you apply for official copyright through the U.S. Copyright Office in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Copyright Office will charge you about $35-$55 to obtain copyright on your entire website, your social media content, and anything else you have written. So long as what you want to copyright can be uploaded from a flash drive or sent to me electronically in a form acceptable by USCO, then we can probably apply for your copyright!
While it takes 6-8 months for USCO to grant copyright, once granted your copyright is recognized in the 156 nations whose representatives signed in Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988.
How long does copyright last?
For any works you create now, copyright covers the works during your entire lifetime plus an additional 70 years after you pass on.
What words should you use on your website or documents to show you have copyright?
First, either use the copyright symbol which looks like this © or write out the word “Copyright.” If you need to, this can be abbreviated, “Copr.”
Then, add the year in which you wrote or created this piece. If you wrote the content in 2015, you can use a range of years such as “2015-2020.” Next January, update this to “2015-2021.”
Then, add the name of your company or your name. If the content was created for your business, you probably want to use the name of the business. This way, if you ever sell the company, you can sell a license to your website content to the new owner.
Lastly, while “All rights reserved” is no longer required, I advocate adding this. Why? It alerts anyone that you are willing to defend your intellectual property rights to this content through legal means if necessary.
© 2020. Business Recovery Centers.org. All rights reserved.
If the content was written several years ago, this statement might read:
© 2010-2020. ABC, LLC. All rights reserved.