Why Copyright? – Key Reasons Why Copyright is Important and How to Benefit From It
Why Copyright? There are 8 reasons (that I have counted) why copyright is important to us as entrepreneurs or business owners, four of which I will share here.
Before we start, what is Copyright? Firstly, it is not the right to copy (although many may think so) and it is not writing copy. Copyright is, in plain English, is described by the World Intellectual Property Organisation as ” a legal term describing rights given to creators for their literary and artistic works”. Those rights include the exclusive right of the original creators of copyright material (know as Works) to use, reproduce, perform, record, broadcast, or translate (or adapt) their works or authorise others these rights.
Now that we know what it is, then why is it important:
1. It can make you money
2. It is a legally protected right
3. It can be an asset in its own right
4. It can become a legacy.
1. It can make you Money.
Through our creative efforts as an author, photographer, artist etc we can sell goods like books, CDs, and DVDs which contain our copyright works and make money from those sales. Alternatively, under copyright law we can authorise others – for a fee – to some (or all of your copyright rights) by using a particular form of contract called a copyright license. If someone infringes our copyright we might possibly be able to sue i.e. seek legal redress and subsequent financial compensation. This is where, in particular in the US, it is important to consider the benefits of copyright registration, as it can provide stronger legal evidence and the right to seek (and obtain) more money as financial compensation. This is number #1 reason why copyright and copyright registration is important.
2. A Legally Protected right.
Through international treaties, and in the USA through the US Constitution, copyright is a legally protected right. If someone infringes our copyright, we can pursue legal remedies through the courts and the law. By the way, as soon as a work is created then it is protected by copyright.
3. Copyright as an Asset.
Subject to international and national accounting standards, including those in the USA, copyrights become intangible assets that can be traded, valued, and transferred. For some companies (and individuals) these intangible assets are components of their balance sheet (assets and liabilities statement) and can be of significant financial value to organisations. This is why copyright is important for business.
4. Copyright creates a Legacy.
Transfer your Copyright works to your kids (or others). Copyright lasts generally 50 years (in the US and some other countries it is 70 years) from the death of the creator. Each country is different and you should check the specific rules. However, be it 50 or 70 years – it is a long time. So, it can be an asset, lasts a long time therefore it can be passed on as a part of our estate to others e.g. our children as a legacy.
There are other important reasons why copyright is important. These a just some to consider when thinking about how to make money from your creative efforts and to protect your future income from those efforts.