An Introduction to Intellectual Property Law

by Guest

What is Intellectual Property Law? Often referred to as IP Law, intellectual property law refers to the ownership of creations, for example ownership of music, artwork, literature, inventions, designs and ideas. These works are the intellectual property of the creator, meaning they own their creation.

Why is this important? It is important because if IP law didn’t exist they could be used by others, possibly to make money from someone else’s work. It could have financial value so it is only right that the creator is the owner. This means they have to give permission for someone else to use their idea or creation, and are entitled to a percentage of any profit made. Intellectual property law ensures that an idea or creation is protected where necessary.

Businesses and Brands

Amongst the things that come under intellectual property law is a brand or business idea. Simply thinking of an idea means you own that idea, and if someone else steals it they are breaking the law and are likely to have to compensate the creator. That said, it must be proved this has been stolen. The lines can be blurred but, essentially, if you come up with an idea someone else can’t use it without your permission. Company logos and branding is also under the ownership of the creator, much like artwork.

Music

If the lyrics, notes or chords of music are written down or recorded then it is officially the copyright of the creator, so they own the rights to it. It can then only be used by others with their permission. This is true whether someone else records it or it is played on the radio, for example. When it is played on the radio the radio station must pay a fee to the copyright owner. If someone else records it a percentage of the sale must go to the copyright owner. This is even the case if someone performs it live and earns money from this.

Artwork

When someone creates a piece of art, whether it is a drawing, painting, sculpture or photograph, then they are the intellectual property owner. It can therefore not be copied (whether redone or another copy made) without the permission of the creator. Payments must also be made where money is made from this. Museum shops often sell posters or postcards of the artwork on display in their museum. Some of the money made from this, though, must go to the copyright owners.

Literature

When someone writes a novel or a poem it is their intellectual property. Again, there must be permission and payment where someone publishes this. Usually publishing rights are sold to one publisher. They will then be able to sell it, whereas other cannot. Copyright does run out seventy years after the creator’s death though. Charles Dickens novels, for example, can now be published by anyone and sold without permission or payments given to his estate.

Intellectual property law covers many areas. The above are just some of the most obvious examples. Essentially, any ideas or creations are the intellectual property of the creator and they own the copyright to their work.

Andrew Marshall ©

Intellectual Property Law

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