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With advances in technology comes various changes to the business world. Today more commerce takes place online than in the streets. With these advances though, come some new and unforeseen challenges. The world of cyber business can be complicated. Below we will discuss some simple mistakes you should work to avoid with your business. If you do run into some legal issues relating to intellectual property rights, trademark infringement, or another cyber dispute, speak with a knowledgeable cyber law attorney immediately.

Mistakes Commonly Made by New Business Owners

Starting a new business is no easy task. Finding clientele, developing a product, and ensuring that you have the financial security to wait for your company to grow are all issues that every new business owner must consider. With the landscape of business moving from city streets to web pages, it has never been easier for new business owners to make mistakes that lead to stolen ideas or legal consequences.

Failure to Register Your Copyright: Ok here’s the thing, if you create content and post it on your website technically a copyright exists on your work. The problem is, just because your work is copyrighted does not mean you have the right to legally protect it. In order to gain the right to pursue legal action against another party that uses your work, you will need to register it within the U.S. Copyright Office.

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FL copyright lawyerCopyrighting your intellectual property is simply a good idea. When you have put so much time and effort into creating something, the last thing you want is for others to be able to steal your work and cash in on it themselves. Copyrights can protect a wide array of property, though it does not cover your ideas, operational methods, or facts. The following, however, can be protected with copyright:

  • Written work like novels, poetry, short stories, etc.
  • Dramatic writings
  • Movies
  • Musicals and songs
  • Art such as paintings, drawings, and more
  • Architectural designs

Can Your Website Be Copyrighted?

Although your actual website and domain name do not fall on the list of items that can be covered by copyright, the content you place on the website (or at least some of it) does. There is a fine line about what can be covered or not. For example:

  • A book of recipes can be copyrighted, while a list of ingredients cannot
  • A song can be copyrighted, while the name of a band cannot
  • A written expression or work of art can often be copyrighted, while a slogan or logo cannot (although some of these may qualify for trademarking)
  • A written or drawn representation of your idea may qualify to be copyrighted, but the actual idea itself cannot

How to Establish a Copyright on Your Works

An author or artist who has created a particular work is eligible to copyright that work. If more than one person was involved in the creation, then the joint authors or artists must both be involved in the copyright process. The work must not have been created as part of the creator’s duties under employment for another party.

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Florida fair use attorneyIf you are planning to use someone else’s copyrighted photographs, music, or other creative works in your business enterprise, you need to be very careful that you do not commit illegal copyright infringement. If you reproduce another person’s copyrighted work without permission and due compensation, you could be sued for damages.

However, not every unlicensed use of a copyrighted work is unlawful. One of the most important issues in copyright law is the concept of “fair use.” The legal doctrine of fair use permits the use of copyrighted music, images, and other creative works in limited circumstances that are considered crucial to protecting the freedom of expression. Examples of fair uses include news reporting, nonprofit educational activities, and critique or commentary.

A user of copyrighted material and the copyright holder often disagree over the differences between fair use and unlawful use. This may result in a lawsuit in which the copyright holder seeks damages from a user of copyrighted material for what they clearly see as copyright infringement, while the user argues that they are protected by the fair use doctrine. Ultimately, the court sides with the law, which applies four specific criteria.

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Florida copyright lawyerWhen you have created copyrighted material such as music, photographs, or books, it is incredibly important to ensure that no one else makes money off your intellectual property. After all, failure to defend your work against copyright infringement means lost income for you.

However, you do need to be aware that some uses of your copyrighted work are considered “fair use.” The legal doctrine of fair use is intended to ensure freedom of expression, a freedom highly valued by Americans and protected by the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

Likewise, if you want to use someone else’s copyright works for your own business purposes, you need to be clear on whether your use constitutes a fair use or a copyright infringement. You do not want to become the target of a lawsuit for damages because you improperly reproduced someone else’s original work.

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Florida copyright attorneyVirtually every business produces something that needs federal copyright protection, if only in the form of their business website. Thousands of businesses, large and small, base the bulk of their business on copyrighted works that range from knitting patterns to photographs to music videos. To protect their valuable intellectual property, they rely on the U.S. Copyright Office.

You might wonder exactly what the U.S. Copyright Office does. A dig into this agency’s fiscal year 2017 report revealed some interesting insights.

The Mission of the U.S. Copyright Office

The Copyright Office has the important job of “promoting the progress of science … by securing for limited times to authors … the exclusive right to their respective writings” as envisioned by the U.S. Constitution.

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