By Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala
Copyright protects ideas expressed in a tangible form. The expression may be in the form of literary work like website or brochure content, photographic work such as pictures in brochures, artistic work like website layouts, cinematographic work such as promotional videos, and so on. Protection of copyrights provides several business and competitive advantages to start-ups and entrepreneurs.
Copyright protection over a work starts from the date of creation of the work, and registration is not mandatory. However, registration gives certain benefits, such as presumption of ownership.
A start-up company may protect its works by taking the following steps:
- Incorporating copyright notices on copyrightable materials such as websites, presentations, software, interfaces, brochures and so on. The format of a copyright notice is: Copyright, (name of the company), (year of creation of the work);
- Registering important copyrightable works, such as software interfaces, code, artistic works and so on. Registration of a copyright is very cost effective and application may be filed easily. The copyright office now has an online filing system, and any person can use it to file copyright applications.
For online businesses, copyrights assume more importance than they do for other businesses from both protection and risk mitigation perspectives.
Protecting copyrights in interfaces, website designs, layouts, menu structures, and other possible aspects of the business will make it difficult for competitors to replicate the business. It will also prevent slavish copying by competitors.
Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala is the Managing Partner of BananaIP. He is visiting faculty at the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore, and a guest lecturer at IIM, Bangalore.
This was article was originally published on Sinapse.