Copyright: Simple Steps to Protect Your Work | Kimberley Bell | Skillshare

Copyright: Simple Steps to Protect Your Work

Kimberley Bell, Attorney | Author | Speaker

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4 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Copyright: Simple Steps to Protect Your Work

    • 2. Lesson 1 Simple Steps to Protect Your Work

    • 3. Lesson 2 Simple Steps to Protect Your Work

    • 4. Lesson 3 Simple Steps to Protect Your Work


About This Class

Join veteran attorney Kimberley Bell for a look at the steps you can take as a creative to protect your work with copyright.  We'll learn the 3 simple things you can do to not only let everyone know a work is yours but to give you extra rights if someone uses your work without your permission.

Together we will:

  • learn what copyright is and what it applies to
  • learn how to create a correct copyright notice
  • add another layer of protection with a copyright warning
  • go step-by-step through the copyright registration process

By the end of the class you'll be able to customize each of these protections to suit you and your work.  No prior knowledge is required for this course.  

Check out the class notes for a handout and templates you can easily tailor for your own use.

For those looking for more legal resources, including a free comprehensive report on the risks of their own business, head to my site WorkWise and take the Business Risk Quiz.  You'll also find loads of other free resources including a Business Checklist, Guide to Employees and Contractors, Guide to Intellectual Property and a Trademark QuickCheck.


1. Copyright: Simple Steps to Protect Your Work: hi and welcome to my class about copyright and the simple steps you can take to protect your work. This is the first in a series of classes about practical copyright in which we will walk through the answers to some of the most common questions about copyright and work with some tools to make that knowledge practical. My name is Kimberly Bill, but I just go by. Kim. I've been on attorney for 27 years and I'm licensed to practice law in New York, Texas, England and Wales and Queensland in Australia. I'm all about demystifying legal concepts and making the lower accessible to everyone. That was exactly the inspiration I used to create my business. Five Step legal. It's a package to help creatives and entrepreneurs dot their legal I's and cross their legal teas in five simple steps. We're going to focus on basic protection tools for copyright in this class. In the discussion section, I've included a quick cheat sheet to help you identify different types of intellectual property, as well as the tools to help you complete the class project. We'll talk about that more in a moment, but first things first. There are four quick points I have to note before we get started. Your participation in the class doesn't create an attorney client relationship between you and I. The class isn't legal advice on providing it for educational purposes only. And that means I can't give legal advice in the discussion section of the class, either. Finally, the laws. I'm going to discuss a Bose of the United States only. So let's get started in this class. We're going to start with a few copyright basics. Things that you should develop a habit of using to protect your work in later classes will take a look at what you can do if someone uses your work and how to use someone else's work legally. But for now, we're going to cover what copyright actually is. What a copyright notices and how to get it right for your circumstances. We'll add another layer of protection with a copyright warning and finally will bring out the big guns and go step by step through the simple online copyright registration process. You'll find the projects for the class are really easy. We're going to create your own copyright notice that you can start using immediately I'm also going to give you a template copyright warning, which I'll talk through and explain so that you could make some minor modifications and start using it straight away to simple. When you ready, Let's get started in Lesson one. 2. Lesson 1 Simple Steps to Protect Your Work: Welcome to Lesson one. We're going to start this class by taking a closer look at what copyright is and also what it isn't. This is a pretty hefty list, and I don't want you to do anything with it, but spent a minute having a look in seeing if you can pick out the items that copyright applies to. Don't worry if you don't get a way through it ready . If he selected only the items in the first column, well done. Each of them can get the benefit of copyright protection, provided they also satisfy three basic criteria. Many of the other items in the list may be eligible for other types of intellectual property protection, including trademarks, trade, dress, trade secrets and patents. But copyright doesn't apply to them. As I mentioned in the class intro, there's a cheat sheet in the class discussion section that you can use as a reference to figure out if copyright applies to the work you're thinking of protecting. So what is copyright? Copyright protects original expressions of ideas, but not the ideas themselves. It's a bit of a head scratcher of a definition without a bit of context, so let's give it some. A song can be copyrighted only when it's written down in lyrics of sheet music. Or if it's recorded that catchy song hook you carry around in your head. No, you can't copyright it. Here's another example. If you do a stand up comedy routine at a comedy venue, you can't copyright your live show. What you can do is tape it and copyright the audio or audiovisual. You can also write it down and copyright the written text. Let's try and build on that basic scaffolding to start to make it a little more riel. World copyright applies to literary works that includes books, blogged, posts, magazines, articles, poems and infographics. It also applies to artworks We're talking about fine art, everything from paintings hanging in the Louver Ah commercial gallery, your own paintings, illustrations and artworks on Instagram and Pinterest or anywhere else on the Internet. It also applies to graphic art like posters, advertisements, postcards, comics, graphic novels and product packaging sculpture. Again, it doesn't need to be in a gallery. Technically, a five year old owns the copyright in the clay part. He makes it school and also maps. It also applies to architectural works, photographs, choreographic works, musical works including songs, music scores, sound recordings. And here we're talking about everything from the sound of rain on a rooftop and waves crashing on a beach to instrumental tracks and even elevator music. Dramatic works like plays and musicals, audiovisual works from motion pictures to YouTube videos and personal videos. And finally, computer source code and object code. So let's give that even more structure. There are some essential ingredients beyond the type of work that must be present for copy . Right to apply. They are the work must be in physical form. We discuss that a minute ago. The work must be original, and it must contain a basic level of creativity. So let's assume you satisfy all of those ingredients. What rights do you actually have? Is a copyright owner? Well, you have the right to reproduce the works in copies and recordings. Yep, you could make more copies of it. As many as you want. You can prepare new works based on the original work. These are known as derivative works. It might be writing a different ending to a novel, changing the colors in a screen print or offering a film with foreign language subtitles. You also have the right to distribute copies or recordings of the work to the public by selling them or giving someone else the right to do that in, for example, a limited geographic area or for a limited period of time. You also have the right to perform will display the work publicly. You've probably noticed the warnings that come up on the screen before the movie starts that say, you can't display the work except for privately in your home or in a few other situations. If you wanted to show a film to a social club rather gathering, you don't actually have to get the copyright owners permission first. These were all great rights, but they don't lost forever. The rails around how long copyright lasts could be a little tricky. There are all sorts of different rules for older works in particular. That's because the rules change over time and rule change only works going forward. The rule you probably really only need to worry about for your own work is that if it was created after 1978 or created before 1978 but first published after 2000 and two, and there's only one author. Copyright applies until the over dies, plus 70 years after his or her death. If there's more than one author, copyright applies until the last surviving author dies, plus 70 years after his or her death. And finally, in the case of a work for hire or anonymous works, copyright applies for 95 years from publication 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter. See what I mean about tricky and see how long the right saw we'll talk about works for hire in another class. For now, it's probably enough to know that if you created a work during your employment, the work will probably be a work for hire and will actually belong to your employer. Of course, it's not quite that simple, but for the purpose of this part of the copyright class, let's leave it there. That's the end of Lesson one. When you ready, let's head on over to lessen too 3. Lesson 2 Simple Steps to Protect Your Work: Hi. It's time for Lesson two. We're going to start exploring the four different ways you can use to protect your work. I want to remind you that these aren't alternatives. You can think of them as extra layers of security. The first is by putting it in fixed form. Secondly, you could include a copyright nisus. The next layer of protection is to add a copyright warning. And finally, by registering your copyright, I guess, to totally flesh out the picture. I should also add that the final way of protection it's enforcing your rights by communicating with or suing someone who's breaching your rights. So let's take a closer look at each of these forms of protection. Copyright is created from the moment of work is created in fixed form, for example, written down, typed on a computer, recorded or filmed. In other words, there aren't actually any special steps that you need to take to create copyright, although there are special steps that you can and should take to protect your copyright. In fact, you don't even need to include a copyright notice to get copyright protection. So why bother? Although it's not strictly necessary, there's some very good reasons why you'll want to include a copyright notice in your work. A copyright notice informs the public that the work is protected by copyright. It tells everyone that you are the copyright owner and allows them to track you down. If they want to ask your permission to use your work, it shows three year the work was first published. It may discourage potential infringes from using your work. I say May, because we all know that just because something's wrong, it doesn't mean people won't do it. That's just the way of the world. It may make a lawsuit against an infringer worth your time and money. Why? Well, because lawyers are expensive and successful legal actions and never guaranteed. You'll give yourself a fighting chance of compensation if you can show that the infringing knew that your work was protected by copyright but used in any way but notice that we've used the wood may again. Lawsuits don't come with guarantees of success, so that's something you should always keep in mind before you rush into court. So what exactly does a copyright notice look like? Well, it has three ingredients the symbol see in the circle or the word copyright or the abbreviation C O P R. Not that you can choose any one of thes, although you'll often see the symbol and the word copyright. The Year of first publication publication has a particular meaning and copyright law. It means showing giving away, selling, renting, lending or distributing the work to the public. A public performance of a work isn't publication. Remember the requirement we talked about earlier that the work needs to be in fixed form? Ah, performance, such as a stand up comedy routine or singing an original song needs to be written down, filmed or recorded, and finally, the name of the copyright owner. This is probably the most important ingredient and can be the hardest to get ride. So let's look at some examples. This is the most basic format. You would use this if the work was created by you, where you don't have a formal business structure or you're doing business under your own name or a D B. A. D. B. A. Stands for doing business as and means you're doing business under a name other than your personal name. So if, for example, you have an Etsy store that you call whimsical watercolors. You technically would be Jane Smith DB a whimsical watercolors, but your copyright would still be C Copyright 2018 Jane Smith. Let's have a look in another. You would used this format if you create the work with someone else, including if they're business partners in a partnership or co authors, he is another. You would use this format if you have an L. L C, a limited liability company, which is a type of business structure, and you want the business to own the copyright. This might be important to you if you want to sell the company at some time in the future, and the copyright is one of the assets that you include in the value of the company. If that's not important to you or you want to keep the ownership of all the work you create , you can still use the first option we looked at. This is the format you would use if you've incorporated an escort or C Corp and you want the business to own the copyright. This would probably be important to you if you want to sell the company at sometime in the future, and the copyright is one of the assets that you include in the value of the company. A good example is someone who makes online games. You couldn't sell your corporation for any real value unless the corporation owned the copyright in your key asset, the games themselves. Finally, you can still get copyright protection, even if you haven't finished creating your work. In that case, you'll fix an unpublished work notice like this. You'll see. It's basically the same as for published works. We've just added the words unpublished works at the beginning. When you ready, let's move on to the final lesson in this class. 4. Lesson 3 Simple Steps to Protect Your Work: Welcome back. This is our final video. It's time to bring out the copyright Big guns. We're going to look at the final two protections in the copyright arsenal, copyright warnings and copyright registration. Let's start with copyright warnings. So what exactly is a copyright morning? Not everyone who reads your copyright notice will understand how it applies to them. For that reason, it's a good idea to include a copyright warning or warning statement. It's a short statement warning others of your rights and explaining the limitations on how your work can and can't be used. Because of its written format. It's not going to lend itself to every situation where copyright applies. For example, you're not going to stick a copy right warning on a painting or other type of artwork. In fact, that's why basic copyright applies from the moment of creation, and it's also where copy registration is available. You'll use a copyright warning for printed or written material websites, APS and computer code. Let's take a look at a pretty standard copyright morning. You'll no doubt have seen this kind of wording before, but let's break it down a little. All rights reserved. This simply means that you're letting the world know that you own the whole of the copyright, including the right to do whatever you want with it and to sue anyone who uses it inappropriately. Well, without your permission, this book is protected by copyright. He making it crystal clear that your work is protected by your copyrights. You'll obviously specify the particular type of work that you're asserting copyright over, such as a website or book. You may not adapt, modify, publish, distribute or reproduce free or otherwise in any media or form or by any means the whole or any part of this book, etcetera to any person without the prior written consent off, and he'll insert the relevant name. This is the meat of the copyright warning. It's where the rubber hits the road. You letting everybody know the things that cannot do with your work. Even if they don't sell, it will receive any money for it, even if they were just emailing a copy to a friend or if they only used a part of your work like a chapter from a book, it's letting people know that you might be open to giving them the ability to use your work in specific circumstances that you've given them permission for and that they might have to pay you to do so. But they need to get your specific permission first. Remember, though you don't have to give anyone any of the rights you don't want to. We're going to look in another class at what you should do if someone uses your work. But for now, let's move on where provided to you in Elektronik format. You may only print one copy for your personal, non commercial use here, limiting what people could do with your work. The main sentiment here is that they can't buy a copy of your work and then sell it in their own business. Remember, this is a general form of copyright warning. It could be adapted to say whatever you want in terms of what you'll let people do again in my class on how to use someone else's work. Legally, we'll look at Creative Commons licenses, which are another way of letting people use your work subject to different types of limitations. For example, they could use it in their business, but they can't modify it, and they have to attribute it to you by including your name and other information. Failure to comply with the terms of this warning may expose you to legal action for copyright infringement. This is where you let people know that you take your rights seriously and that you may decide to sue someone if they infringe your rights. This is always your choice, though oftentimes there are other steps you can take before you get in. Turning is involved. We'll look at those options in another class soon. Okay, it's time for the really big gun registration. So what does that mean? And how do you do it? Copyright registration is a legal formality that makes public searchable record of the basic facts of your copyright. Registration is done with the US Copyright Office. You don't need to have registered your copyright in order to get copyright protection. Remember, copyright protection arises automatically when a work is created. There are two main practical reasons. Someone might choose to register their work, though the 1st 1 is if you might lose money. If someone else uses you work, for example, if they take your work and sell it or copies of reproductions of it or part of it. Think of someone duplicating a work of art block posts or a set of architectural plans. The other reason is simply to stop lots of reproductions of your work. That is, you just don't want to see a work peddled around by others. There are also a few legal advantages to registration. Firstly, registration establishes a public searchable record off the copyright claim. Registration gives people the ability to check if something is actually subject to copyright before they use it. Also, before you can sue someone for copyright infringement, the copyright must be registered if you copyright is registered before or within five years of publication, Registration establishes clear evidence in court of your copyright claim. And finally, if you register your work within three months after publication off the work or prior to an infringement of the work, you'll be able to get statutory damages and your attorney's fees awarded in a lawsuit. Otherwise, you'll only be entitled to seek actual damages and profits, which you need to be able to prove, and that's easier said than done. You can actually register. You work at any time, but the above limitations make a pretty strong case for getting in and doing it sooner rather than later. If you have online content that is updated on a regular basis, such as a website or BLAWG, it should be registered every three months. One final important point before we take a look at the process, the US Copyright Office won't enforce your rights for you. They're not going to sue anyone who infringes your registered copyright. You'll still have to sue the infringer, but registration opens a whole new world of potential compensation that you would not otherwise be entitled to. Copyright registration currently costs $55 per registration, so there's a cost decision for you to make. Ask yourself, is that cost worth of financial losses? You might see if you don't register your work. The easiest way to register is to do it online through the Electronic Copyright office or ICO. If you use this option, you'll pay the lower $55 filing fee, have a faster processing time and get the benefit of online status tracking. To access ICO, go to www dot copyright dot gov and click on Elektronik copyright office. So we're going to hear on over to the US Copyright office website now and walk through the registration process. Let's go. We're going to start by clicking the box in the top left hand corner and hit register. Next, we're going to select the box which says, Log into Ekho. We're going to have to create an account so we'll do that over here on the left. I'm just going to fill in the details with some random information for the purpose off this part of the process. - Right ? What could quickly complete the address and we'll skip past the screen and finish the registration process. Okay, we're gonna get started on the actual registration process Now. We'll do that by clicking on standard registration, and we'll start the registration process by clicking start registration. Okay, so the type of work were going to use these literary work because we're going to register a book and click confirm that we've read the description above, and it complies with what we're trying to address. We need to address the title off the work so we'll do that by selecting new into the name of the book. We're here to cool this one. 1000 and one ways to make a 1,000,000 and we'll select save. Okay, we're going to continue to the next screen. We're going to say the work hasn't been published before, but it's going to be completed this year, so we'll enter 2000 and 18 and we'll continue by pressing the continue button. Okay, so we don't need to add any more authors. We're not gonna go through the whole process here, but we're going to have a look at some of the different options over here in the left hand menu. The reason is much of the information is actually duplicated from here on in. So what we're looking at here is any limitations that apply if the works based on something that was written previously. This is where you have to make a notation off that other item of work. Similarly, the rights and permissions section here is where you're going to say, who could make changes to the registration once it's being completed or during the complete the process. You'll see also that we've been assigned a case number up here at the top need to make a note of that. We're actually going to pulls at this point, the remainder of the process is fairly self explanatory, and you won't need me to help you go through it. So we're at the end of the class. I hope it's giving you the tools that you need to protect your works with copyright. Don't forget to go to the class project with Prepare your own copyright notice copyright warnings and if you want, post them in the class project section. You'll also find a handout in the class discussion section, which, as well as some details on copyright basics, will give you a summary of the different types of intellectual property, including trademarks, trade, dress, trade secrets and patents. It also summarizes some key information about each of those rights, as well as the copyright notice. Examples were used in this class and a general form of copyright warning. If you've enjoyed the class and found it useful, please leave a review and also keep an eye out for my new classes. For those wanting to dive deepest still, you can go to my website five step legal. That's if I ve e S t e p l e g a l dot com and check out my detailed guide to the five steps you need to take to keep your online business legal. It's full of checklists, worksheets, document templates, another business and legal goodness. It's usually $399 but as a skill, shame em, but you'll be eligible for a 15% discount. Have a great day and see you soon.