Whether you create writing, video, photos or anything else.
You have rights over your work and are all the better off being aware of them.
Photo by Frankie Cordoba on Unsplash
Words by Todd Bateman
Over the past two decades, the internet has fundamentally changed the way we live, work, and play. One of the most significant changes has been the rise of the creator economy.
With the internet, anyone can be a creator. You no longer need expensive equipment or years of training to get started. All you need is a computer and an internet connection.
This has led to a boom in creative content. There are now more people making music, videos, art, and other forms of creativity than ever before.
This increase in creativity has had a profound impact on the economy. The traditional music and video industries have been disrupted by new players such as Spotify and YouTube.
These new companies have created entirely new business models and have upended the old order. In the process, they have created billions of dollars in value and millions of jobs.
The rise of the creator economy has also given rise to new economies based on creativity. For example, there is now a thriving market for online courses teaching people how to be creative.
This is just the beginning. The internet has democratized creativity and the sky is the limit for what we can create next.
What rights do online creators have over the work they make?
When you create something, you automatically get what’s called ‘copyright’. This means that you have the right to stop anyone else from copying, performing, publishing or making adaptations of your work without your permission.
You own the copyright in your work from the moment you create it, and it lasts for your entire lifetime, plus an extra 70 years after you die. So if you create something when you’re 20, your copyright will last until you’re 90, and then for 70 years after that. Y
ou don’t have to do anything to get copyright in your work – it’s automatic. But it can be useful to put the © symbol on your work, along with your name and the year you created it, to show that you own the copyright.
There are some exceptions to copyright, which means that you may not be able to stop someone from using your work in certain ways. For example, if your work is very similar to something that already exists, or if it’s being used for the purpose of criticism or review. If you want to give someone else permission to use your work, you can do this by licensing it or by selling the copyright to them.
This is known as ‘assigning’ the copyright. You can also choose to ‘waive’ your copyright, which means you’re giving up your right to control how your work is used. This might be something you do if you want your work to be used freely, without anyone having to ask your permission first.
How online creators should view and harness copyright
There are a few key ways that online creators can go about harnessing copyright to protect their work.
Firstly, it’s important to be aware of the copyright laws in your country and how they work. This way, you can better understand your rights and what you can do to protect your work.
Secondly, it can be helpful to use a copyright notice on your work. This notice will let others know that your work is protected by copyright and that they need your permission to use it.
Thirdly, it’s a good idea to register your work with a copyright office if you are in the US (this is not required elsewhere). This will give you further legal protection in the event that someone does copy your work without your permission.
Finally, it is important to monitor the online space for infringement of copyright - as being aware of what constitutes infringement means that you can stop your work from being used without permission where this is encroaching upon your commercial and authorial rights.
By taking these steps, you can help to protect your work from being copied without your permission. You can also use copyright to monetize your work, by licensing it to others for use. And, if someone does copy your work without permission, you can use copyright law to defend your work and take legal action against the person who copied it.
Examples of how online creators might leverage their copyright to protect their work
A YouTube creator proactively protects their copyright by regularly monitoring their channel for any unauthorized use of their videos and taking immediate action to have the infringing content removed.
They also make it a point to include clear copyright notices on their videos and in their channel description, so that viewers are aware that the content is protected and cannot be used without the creator’s permission.
A photographer who regularly shares their photos online also takes steps to protect their copyright.
They watermark their images to deter unauthorized use, and only share low-resolution versions of their photos to make it more difficult for people to steal and reproduce them.
They also include clear copyright notices on their photos and on their website or blog, so that viewers are aware that the content is protected and cannot be used without the photographer’s permission.
A music creator who regularly posts their music on Soundcloud also takes steps to protect their copyright. They make sure to include clear copyright notices on their track listings, and only share lower-quality versions of their music (e.g. not lossless for example)to make it more difficult for people to steal and reproduce them. They also typically only share their music with a select group of people, so that it is less likely to be pirated or copied without their permission.
In conclusion, it is always beneficial for online creators who rely on their creativity to be aware of how copyright works - and take the right steps to proactively protect their work.
After all, your work is what makes you a unique presence in the marketplace, and the more others can freely copy, the less distinct your presence becomes.
If you are an online creator and are looking for help as it relates to protecting or enforcing your copyright, get in touch by clicking the button below to leave and enquiry with our team.
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Disclaimer: This FAQ should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only. You are urged to consult your own solicitor on any specific legal questions you may have.
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