The logo design process is time-consuming and expensive, and copyright is a real concern for many businesses.
Creating a logo is a key element of helping your business to stand out from the crowd, and a way to help you become immediately identifiable to your intended customers.
Having a rival try and try to use this logo, or pass it off as their own, therefore, can be a real concern – your customers may encounter false or poor quality products, bad service, or other issues, and associate these with your business.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to copyright your logo, keep your brand safe and protected, help you to maintain a positive reputation, and keep your customers happy.
Read on to discover all you need to know about copyrighting your logo and take those all-important steps today.
What Is Copyright?
Copyright law was as we now know it was originally passed by Congress in 1790, and has been amended many times since then to reflect changes in society.
The intention is to protect original works of authorship from being copied without permission, while also ensuring that the original owners of these works are able to benefit financially from their creation.
In order to be able to enforce this protection, copyright law requires that an author register their work with the U.S.
Copyright Office, which is located at the Library of Congress. This registration serves as proof that the author owns the copyright to the work, and also provides a legal basis for any future lawsuits over infringement.
The following types of works fall under the scope of copyright:
- Literary works (including books, magazines, newspapers, movies, plays, and television programs),
- Musical works (including sheet music, recordings, phonograph records, tapes, etc.),
- Audiovisual works (including motion pictures, videos, DVDs, etc.),
- Architectural works (buildings, sculptures, paintings, drawings, photographs, maps, models, plans, diagrams, charts, graphs, etc.),
- Graphic works (including computer-generated images, prints, posters, transparencies, etc.).
The term “work” is defined to include a “literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work.”
Who Can Register Copyrights?
Anyone who creates a work of authorship may apply for copyright protection through the U.S.
copyright office. However, it is important to note that not everyone who applies for copyright protection is automatically eligible to receive a certificate of registration.
To qualify for copyright protection, you must meet two requirements:
- You must create the work yourself. You cannot claim ownership of a work if another person created it first.
- Your work must be original. If you copy someone else’s work, you do not have the right to copyright it. Even if you change something about the work, such as adding a new color, you still don’t have the right to copyright the work, as you are not the original owner.
If you meet both of these criteria, you may apply for copyright protection.
Once you have registered your work, anyone who wants to use it will have to obtain your permission before doing so.
The copyright owner can sue anyone who infringes upon his/her rights.
Can I Copyright My Logo For My Business?
One of the main advantages of copyright is that you can use it to copyright your business logo – and this is an important priority.
Your logo is the visual identity of your brand, and plays a key role in connecting customers to your business – it is important that they not only recognize a logo as being part of your brand, but also that they trust and respect this logo and, by extension, your business.
Adding copyright to your logo allows you to prevent people from using it without your permission, and means that it cannot be transferred, replicated or used elsewhere without your permission.
What Is The Difference Between Copyright And Trademark Protection?
It is important to note that there is a difference between copyright and trademark protection, though there are connections between the two.
A trademark is a word, symbol, phrase, design, or combination thereof that identifies and distinguishes your goods or services from those of others.
Trademark protection protects your name, slogan, product design, packaging, and other distinctive characteristics associated with your business.
Trademarks are protected by federal law, which means they are enforceable anywhere in the United States.
Why Should I Copyright My Logo?
There are a number of advantages to copyrighting your business logo, and these include:
You Can Protect Your Brand
The first advantage of copyright is that you can protect your brand. This will allow you to prevent others from using your logo without your permission.
It also means that if someone does use your logo in their own work, they have to pay you for this usage.
This is particularly useful if you want to protect your logo against unauthorized use on websites or other media.
You can ensure that no one else uses your logo without paying you.
It Is An Easy Process
If you don’t already have a copyright registered with the US Copyright Office, it’s easy to get one.
All you need to do is fill out an application form and send it to the US Copyright Office.
The process takes around two weeks. Once you’ve received your registration certificate, you can then register your logo online.
If you decide not to register your logo, you may still be able to enforce your rights under trademark law. However, registering your logo gives you additional protection.
Protects Your Logo From Being Used By Others
When you register your logo, you can stop anyone else from using it without your permission, and this allows you to control how your logo is used.
If you don’t register your logo, you could find yourself having to go through expensive legal proceedings to try and prove that someone has infringed upon your intellectual property rights.
Enforces Your Rights
Once you have registered your logo, you can take action against any person who uses your logo without your permission by sending them a cease-and-desist letter.
This lets you make sure that people know that they cannot use your logo without your permission, and it makes sure that they comply with your wishes.
What Happens If I Copyright My Logo And Someone Uses It?
If someone else copies your logo and uses it in their business, you have two options:
- Ask the person who copied your logo to remove it from their website or business materials. If they refuse, you may still be able to sue them for violating your copyright – provided you have protected yourself legally.
- File a copyright infringement suit against them. In this case, you will likely win the lawsuit and receive monetary compensation for the damage caused by the infringing use.
Copyrighting your logo is simple and inexpensive, and there are a number of benefits to doing so, including protecting your intellectual property rights and providing legal recourse should someone infringe upon your rights.
Ultimately, copyright allows you to ensure that your business is protected and legitimate, and offers peace of mind and the protection you need.