Quite often, residents in California are likely to be most used to hearing about large corporations taking strong steps to protect their intellectual property. These giants may at times be seen as squashing down on smaller players, even individuals, in an effort to maintain their brand integrity and prevent unlawful infringements of the uses of their original works. Interestingly, today it is one of the big companies that is a defendant in such a lawsuit.
Many companies in California look for ways to protect their intellectual property. This may entail patents, trademarks, service marks or copyrights. Each type of protection is for something different and copyrights themselves are used for creative works. Understanding what a copyright is and is not or does and cannot do is important for anyone who creates the types of work that may be protected by copyrights.
Being the home to the movie industry, California is a hotbed of creative innovation and therefore many people in the golden state are aware that artistic works may be subject to copyright laws. These laws, like trademark laws, are designed to provide protections to the holders of them. Copyrights may be granted for things like movies, music, books, sculptures, photographs and paintings.
When a painter, musician, writer or another type of artist creates a unique work, he or she typically gets a copyright to prevent others from using it and profiting from it without permission. When that copyright expires, the piece becomes part of the public domain, and is then available for use free in the U.S., according to Stanford University. You don’t need permission and you don’t have to pay to use anything in the public domain. It belongs to everyone.
Many Californian residents - potentially including you - don't actually know a lot about copyright law. This can be an issue if you ever find yourself facing claims of copyright infringement. Fortunately, Millstone, Peterson & Watts, LLP, are well-versed in all of the nuances of copyright and can help you out, regardless of what problems you have run into.
California residents who are engaged in artistic endeavors know the importance of protecting their intellectual properties. Copyrights are a primary mode of doing just this for people who write books, produce movies, create paintings or write and produce music. The protections these copyrights grant, however, may not always be as clear as one might think. When it comes to the world of musical lyrics, for example, there is some latitude for similarity.
If you are a California artist, author, composer, photographer, architect, software developer, etc., you should protect your rights to your original works by means of a registered copyright. The United States Copyright Office notes that things such as paintings, books, songs, photographs, architectural drawings and software programs are forms of intellectual property that belong to you because you created them.
For many years, blogging has been a way for people to share their views, tell news stories and be heard by countless others. Some bloggers have found great success with their blogs. Writing in your blog may be a hobby for you, or you might have a respectable following and are making a living at it. One thing that connects you and other bloggers in California and elsewhere is the media you include in your posts to make them interesting. However, at Millstone, Peterson & Watts, LLP, we understand that your blog could land in legal hot water if you include copyrighted content without permission.
Californians have seen it happen over and over. Someone tweets something on Twitter and suddenly it goes viral and everyone has seen it. You may have even seen instances where the same tweet is attributed to two different people. This may bring up the question of whether tweets are protected by copyright. If a tweet is a creative, published piece, it seems to fall under copyright protection. However, as it tends to go, things are not always that simple.
If you are seeking copyright protection in California, one of your concerns may be how long that protection will last. This is a good question since other intellectual property protections generally have a specific number of years they are valid, which often are not going to last your lifetime. However, copyright protection terms work a bit differently, according to the U.S. Copyright Office.