What entrepreneurs need to know about patent, copyright law

Copyright and intellectual property are everything in the world of the arts. This applies especially to young writers, artists and musicians looking to earn respect and gain popularity in their fields who must ensure that their intellectual property remains in their control.

If you’ve created something that you believe is worth protecting, it might be worth acquiring a patent, copyright or trademark for it. Depending on the item, you may not even need to apply for patent protection to have it fall under that protection. Here are some things to keep in mind when thinking about patents and copyright protection:

Attribute where/when necessary

You always want to use attribution if you’re using material from someone else’s work. If you’re writing an article that uses material that was generated at another website, you want to make sure that website is given credit for the original material. If you’re sampling a song, you should acknowledge the owner of the music you used. Doing so ensures that the original content is given proper credit and protects you from a claim of plagiarism.

Watermark or copyright your original material

Make sure that people know that the work you’ve done is YOUR work. Leave some identifier there and always ask for credit to be given when a photo is published somewhere. Your work is your intellectual property. You can learn more about intellectual property at the the US Patent and Trademark’s website. Check out Creative Commons to see how you can license your own work.

What to keep in mind

When in doubt as to the ownership of material you are using and intend to share, think twice and do your research. It is better to not share something publicly than to post it and face an intellectual property lawsuit from the owner.

Are you ready to start your own business? Big or small, Travis Credit Union offers small business loans to make your business plan a reality. For more information, visit TCU’s Small Business Loans!

US Patent and Trademark Creative Commons Small Business Loans