Each such byte focuses on a functional issue startups need to solve as they build their company, from idea to scale. In this edition, we speak about digital marketing.
In this final segment of the 3- part series we speak about Copyright and its relevance to start-ups. Copyrights protect original work of authorship such as literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works and includes computer software. If you are in the business of creating content for entertainment or education purpose, involved in writing a unique piece of code copyrights will be applicable for you. While copying is seen as highest form of flattery it is not encouraged. As Brad Templeton puts it” …. intellectual property is more like land and copyright violation is more like trespass. Even though you do not take anything away from the landowner when you trespass, most people understand and respect laws that make it illegal.”
Music, Art, Photographs, computer software and such other original creations can be protected by copyright. Copyright protects the expression of ideas. For example, a copyright can protect a picture of an animal or bird, but others still can use and create their own picture or photograph of the same animal or bird.
There is an interesting litigation on the copyright protection between Modern Dog Design vs. Target Corporation. Although Target claimed that the dog illustrations are technical rather than creative, and anyone could have done them, in July 2013, the judge ruled in Modern Dog’s favor in a summary judgement. In that hearing, the judge granted the 26 dog drawings broad copyright protection. The defendants argued the illustrations were not entitled to a broad copyright since the dog illustrations lack expression and fall into the “natural world” category.” In January 2014, the assignment of copyright was returned to Modern Dog from all three defendants.
Modern Dog campaigned heavily online for publicity and funds to help with its legal fees over the issue.
The Modern Dog case brought to light a question on the mind of many designers and artists: what happens if a major corporation, with many more resources than me, utilizes my artwork for profit? Modern Dog was forced to sell their studio to cover the legal costs associated with this battle. However, co-founder Robynne Raye wrote, “I’m happy that we fought back. It was hard, expensive, and at times stressful, as we decided to pack up and move the business and let go of our staff. But in the end, it was a good decision to stand up for what we believe in.”
It is important to note that even if large corporation like Target and Disney utilizes work of an individual or organisation, if your work is well adhered to copyright requirement it can be protected from anyone.
Law – Copyrights Act 1957; amended in 2012
Relevant Ministry – Copyright Office, Ministry of Human Resource Development
Acquisition of copyright is does not require formal registration in India. However, it is advisable to obtain a certificate of registration of the copyright. The certificate and the entries made therein can serve as evidence in a court of law if a dispute relating to the ownership of copyright arises.
This concludes our 3-part series on parts of Intellectual Property Laws which a start-up should be aware of. This is just a primer and do take legal advice wherever applicable. If you would like to know more about this topic or give us some feedback, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com. We will get back to you as soon as possible.
Disclaimer: These are only for your information. Please refer the relevant Acts, Judgements, and recent guidelines from the respective authorities for detailed and final information on the subject matter and we recommend you take expert opinion if you interest in securing your IPRs.