If there is one thing needed for a small business to succeed, it’s innovation. It needs to offer something special, something original, it needs to beak though on the market through luck, hard work, sweat, tears, but above all, a focus on a specific niche. Of course, quality goes a long way, but offering something new to the market, something special, that is where small businesses excel at. And this is also where they are highly vulnerable.
Namely, any type of creative work, whether that’s music, art, literature, or perhaps software and engineering patents, it all needs to have some legal protection and some copyright in order to keep it safe. Copyright means that the individual who made these original works has the exclusive right to sell and reproduce these in order to make a profit. A lack of copyright means anyone can leech off your hard work, your dedication, and your passion.
The dangers of a lack of copyright
There are basically two core problems that occur when you have a lack of copyright protection. First, you will lose potential clients and customers because someone might be making money off of your idea. You will not be making the money you would make since somebody else is already satisfying your customers’ needs and wants. Secondly, your reputation will plummet. An unscrupulous individual who stole your idea will most likely not care about maintaining quality or doing other parts of the job properly. This will make people think that your service and your goods simply are not as good as they seem.
The core points of copyright
Now that you have a semblance of an idea on why copyright is important, you should consider what it actually pertains to. Namely, copyright is given to any creator who created a specific work, right at the moment he finishes it. Now, the creator himself does not even need to register it immediately to gain the benefits of copyright. However, copyright, for example, does not regulate things like inventions. Furthermore, you will get extra protection and clearer information if you actually do go through the procedure and get your things copyrighted.
Next, know that copyright lasts around 70 years after the death of the author. In other words, you won’t really have to worry about your copyright expiring while you’re still alive.
Protection and mistakes
First of all, you should know that sometimes you might end up with an invention or idea very similar to somebody else’s (or vice versa). That same idea can then lead to people conflating you and your competitor. It is for complicated and murky situations such as these that you should register your copyright as soon as possible.
Of course, mistakes happen. For example, you might end up with some plagiarised articles, though no fault of your own. Lazy or inexperienced copywriters might have stolen another person’s content, and now you have to deal with the consequences. Hiring professional experienced copywriters, honest employees, high-level graphic designers, can help you avoid such a mistake. The point here is that accidents happen, not at the fault of a company owner or representative, and a court of law wit clear rules and proper conclusions can help you deal with such matters.
Registration and protection
The simple copyright symbol – the letter “C” which is inside a circle can be more than enough to deter people who want to mess with your livelihood. Official registration at your country’s Copyright Office can be more than enough to prevent people from using your work, as well as to sue them for damages much more easily.
The actual registration office means you go to the right office and fill out the appropriate paperwork. The Copyright office will create a public record of your claim, which can then help you fight any possible issues you might have in court (relating to said copyright of course).
Trademarks, copyrights, and patents
Now, there should be a quick word on the three main types of protection you can get. The other two are often mixed up with copyrights even though there are some important differences that need to be noted here.
First of all, patents are very hard to acquire. The actual patenting process can take months, if not years. You need to prove you have created something useful and original, all the while providing all the info you can get. They are most often used for concrete, physical inventions. Trademarks, on the other hand, are more about logos, and slogans. They help you distinguish your company or product form the moment you create them, just like copyrights. However, having these be like copyrights also means you will get the greatest benefits if you register it properly at the relevant office. It’s all about protection and standing your ground against unscrupulous people.
And there you have it folks, a short and sweet primer on how to protect your small business through copyright. Namely, copyright is there to keep things under control, to protect your original ideas and works. It doesn’t matter if it’s a piece of art, music, a painting, a sculpture, or software, special work schematics, and an engineering system, the point is you need to keep yourself safe from the competition. So, go to your local office, get the right paperwork dealt with, and protect your work as soon as you are able.