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Three Things You Should Know About Protecting Your Work From Content Thieves

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Last week someone posted the following challenge, they’d learn that the course program they created was copied.  The course was not registered with the U.S. Copyright office so they were worried they wouldn’t have any recourse to protect their work.  Below I will address three facts you should know if find yourself in a similar situation.

 

          1. You can protect your work

            If you are the original author of creative work that is fixed in a tangible form, then you are the copyright owner of that work.  Registration is not required.  Your registration is effective the moment the work is created.  If you find that your work has been copied, you may send a cease and desist letter to the infringer demanding them to immediately stop the infringing activity.  In some cases, a DMCA takedown notice may be appropriate.

 

      1. Everything is not protectable

As suggestions were offered and questions were asked, I learned that the “infringer” was actually a potential client who after a consultation chose to create their own program.  I imagine that during the consultation, in an attempt to close the client, detailed information about the program was given. This exchange of ideas is not protected by copyrights. As a creative entrepreneur, it is very important that you realize that everything is not protected by copyrights.  Copyrights do not protect ideas, methods, systems, names, short phrases or slogans.  In addition, as with everything in life, exceptions exist that may prevent you from enforcing your rights.

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      1. Registration has its benefits

         

Some people want to register their work but believe that it would be cost prohibitive to do so.  In the alternative, they take their work, seal it in an envelope and use the U.S postal service to mail their work to themselves. The envelope remains sealed unless they need it for legal purposes.  This is what is referred to as a poor man’s copyright.  It carries no legal weight and is not the equivalent of a registered copyright. The fee for registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office is $55 dollars.  As stated before you receive automatic rights from the moment you create a work that is protected copyrights, however, registration does have its benefits.  The main benefit of registering your work is the ability to bring a federal lawsuit against those who infringe on your work.  In addition, registration gives you the ability to seek statutory damages, which are often greater than the actual damage caused by the infringement, and attorney fees to recover the cost to you for enforcing your right.

 

These three tips are really just the tip of the iceberg of what you should know about protecting your work. If you have questions and are eager to put the protection of your work in your own hands,  I am teaching a live copyright intensive on May 14th.  I invite you to learn about the class by visiting  here.

LaConya  Murray, Esq.
Brand Attorney
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© 2019 LaConya Murray, Esq. All rights reserved.