Sunday, September 13, 2009

Copyright Your Band Logo - Tips to Protection

There is a lot of time and effort that goes into creating a logo that accurately represents your band. As such, it's important to take the proper steps to protect your art so you have some recourse if infringement occurs.

For the most part, band logos can be considered an original and creative form of art - assuming the logo is more than just the name of the band without an artistic element. As such, they can be protected under Copyright Law as a Visual/Artistic work.

Just to ensure this is clear, the artwork for the logo can be protected under copyright law, but not the name of the band itself. This is because copyright law does not protect names, slogans, or catch-phrases. If you were looking to protect against other bands using your actual name vs. the artwork, this would fall under Trade-Mark Law.

In order to protect your band logo under copyright law, all you have to do is put your logo in a tangible form (on paper, on CD, on a hard drive, on the back of a candy wrapper, etc.). Once it's in this fixed form, the creator owns the exclusive rights to produce or reproduce the art.

Although you automatically own the copyright to the logo artwork the moment it is put in a fixed form, it's best to have taken further steps to prove to the courts that the work was originally yours should someone (perhaps another band) steal your logo or a big portion of it

In General, the best option for added protection is through a reputable copyright registry. For ultimate protection, one should register their logo as soon as it has been completed, before showing others.

There are a number of options for copyright registries. You could register through the Government, through associations, or through online registries. When doing your research, ensure you know all the costs involved, whether there are membership or renewal fees, and whether they provide you with a time-stamped registration certificate.

As a side note, do not rely on the ever-popular "Poor Man's Copyright Method" (i.e. sending yourself your work through mail) because it is highly unlikely to hold in a court of law should someone infringe on your logo design.

Regardless of which method you choose to protect your band's logo, remember to register it before you show it to third parties. Good Luck!

The above information is meant as a general guide to further your copyright knowledge and does not constitute legal advice. For questions about your specific work, you should consult a copyright lawyer in your country.

Justine Shoolman is a Founder of Copyright Creators (CC), a service inspired by the shortfalls of poor man's copyright. CC protects copyright for life with no membership fees. Visit CC today to receive 4 free registrations.

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