When discussing the legal protections that any piece of creative property has, it’s crucial to understand intellectual property. What is it, exactly? What does it cover? What constitutes intellectual property theft?
And, perhaps most importantly, how can you protect and manage your intellectual property?
What Do Intellectual Property Rights Cover?
The World Intellectual Property Organization defines IP as “creations of the mind.” This includes literary works and other artistic works, including sound recordings and film. IP rights are divided between Industrial Property and Copyright. Industrial Property includes trademarks and geographical indications, as well as inventions, patents and trade secrets. Copyright protects literary, artistic, audio and architectural works.
So, what, exactly, does IP cover? Is it the thought behind the creative thing or the thing itself? In short, IP rights protect the exclusive right of the creator to reproductions, performances, broadcasting, translation and adaptation of their work.
What is Intellectual Property Theft?
Intellectual property theft – more concisely known as piracy – is a growing threat to businesses worldwide as technology advances and it becomes easier to access and steal information. The FBI has an article here on piracy and how they fight it. Theft of intellectual property occurs when someone steals another creator’s idea, innovation or product. The most common form of intellectual property theft is illegal downloading or copying of music, films and other recordings from the internet.
Intellectual property protections are in place not only to protect the jobs and hard work of creators, but also to encourage the dedication of resources to further innovation. Patents and trademarks help make innovation and creativity worthwhile.
Managing Your Intellectual Property
Managing and protecting your own intellectual property is important. Piracy can damage your ability to sell your goods both locally and abroad, not to mention the threat to the public if your invention is something that could impact their health and well-being. (For example, counterfeit versions of car pieces or electronic devices can be unsafe if they make it into consumers’ hands.)
Look into the proper protections for your specific creation. Get copyrights, get patents, protect trade secrets with nondisclosure agreements.
This is only a very brief overview of intellectual property rights – it’s a complicated area of law that is constantly expanding. Be sure to do your research and learn what is the best protection for your specialty!