When you create an original piece of writing or work of art, you have copyright protection as soon as you publish your creations. If you purchase the work of an artist or musician, you may have licensing control over that work until its copyright protection expires.
The goal of copyright protections and other intellectual property rights is to motivate creativity with a strong financial incentive. Individuals control who can use or capitalize off of their work until it becomes part of the public domain.
Unfortunately, there are always those who will try to find a way to profit from someone else’s hard work. You can protect your intellectual property rights by taking someone to court over a copyright violation. Sometimes, individuals or businesses will defend against claims by asserting their actions constitute fair use. What falls under the expansive fair use policy for intellectual property?
Fair use includes review, critique, education and parody
There are many different purposes for which one person or business entity may need to make use of someone else’s original works. Some of these uses have protection from copyright claims as fair use.
Those who provide cultural criticism or who review certain kinds of art may use copyrighted works in their own creations, possibly by quoting from a book in an essay or using part of a song in a video. The extent of the use and its necessity will often determine whether the use of an original work as part of a review or critique is fair use.
Parody is also a form of fair use, when something has enough cultural cache for others to reference it, their actions may be defensible as an attempt to parody your work. Parody, unlike outright reproduction, usually will not diminish the market for the original product. The impact of the alleged copyright violation will also influence how the courts rule.
How do you fight intellectual property violations?
When someone misuses your original creations or protected works to which you own the rights, you typically need to notify them of the violation in writing. You then have the option of potentially taking them to court. A successful intellectual property claim could lead to compensation for losses and a court order preventing the other party from infringing on your intellectual property again.
Knowing and standing up for your intellectual property rights will help ensure you receive appropriate returns for the investment made in the creation or purchase of an original work.