Those who create works of art, write engaging essays or compose new songs have intellectual property rights over their creations. Creators may retain those rights or sell them to businesses. Companies can also hire content creators and retain control over what they produce at work.
However, despite those legal protections, many creators and companies with intellectual property rights will find that others try to misappropriate their creations or protected works. Whether a shady print-on-demand t-shirt company has posted on social media advertising shirts with a work of art you own printed on them or some video blogger used your company’s jingle in the background of their video, you may wonder if their behavior constitutes a violation of your intellectual property rights.
Even if you did not register a copyright with the United States Copyright Office, you may still have protection from such infringement.
Publication grants basic copyright protections
As soon as you release your recent original creation to the public, whether you share it on social media or upload it to a streaming platform, you have protection from other people misusing that work. You can strengthen your right to fight back against their behavior by registering your copyright, but you do not have to take that step to have basic protection under United States federal law.
When you discover a violation of your intellectual property rights, that may be the time when you decide to file official copyright paperwork. You can also send the party that you believe violated your rights a cease-and-desist notice which will strengthen your claim if they continue to misuse your original work. If they continue using your original creations or made a profit from doing so, your company can potentially take them to court.
What happens in an intellectual property lawsuit?
If the other party will not stop using your creations or if they profited financially off their misconduct while potentially negatively affecting your company’s use of the same work, you could eventually take them to civil court.
Those who have had their intellectual property rights violated can ask the courts for an order preventing future infringement and possibly even for monetary compensation for the losses they suffered. Learning more about intellectual property rights can protect your business’s creations from misuse by others.