The risk of financial harm to original content creators is increasing rapidly as technology opens up new commercial markets and new opportunities arise for the illegal usage of content. The resulting loss of revenue is a huge problem across all levels of business whether you are starting your journey as a content creator or are a top global artist.
As a creator of any kind of original concept or design, you will no doubt be concerned about the risk of counterfeiting, theft, or plagiarism and may be searching for answers to many questions including “Why is it important to copyright your work?” and “How do you copyright your own work?”.
Copyright is the right afforded to creators of tangible original works such as music, art, or literature whereas Intellectual Property refers to a property of your mind such as an idea, invention, or proprietary knowledge.
Copyright law exists the world over and in order to begin to understand how to copyright your work for free, it is important to understand the distinction between copyright and proof of ownership.
To protect and copyright your work all that is required is to create and fix your piece of work. For example; A composer writes a piece of music (creating) and records the music on a hard drive (fixing) thus completing the required process to gain copyright protection.
Placing a notice on all publicly distributed copies of your creation informing all users that the product has been created by you and that you own the copyright to the work is called a Copyright Notice.
Obtaining independent proof that you are indisputably the sole creator and copyright owner of the work is known as Proof of Ownership, this may be vital to the successful outcome of any future claim of copyright infringement.
Copyright Laws exist all over the world to protect creators from the threat of theft and plagiarism but are they enough and are you doing everything you can to protect your work?
As previously mentioned, Copyright Law dictates that your creation is automatically afforded protection during and upon its completion. This means that as quick as you can take a photo or throughout the time it takes to write a book Copyright Law is there to protect you.
Once fixed in a tangible form any of the following works will be copyright protected:
This is of course not an exhaustive list and further research is recommended if it is not clear that your creation would be covered by copyright.
Whilst the list of what can be copyrighted is huge the following are not covered;
A copyright notice has three factors;
Once the work has been labelled in this way it is your notice to the world that you are the creator and owner.
In many countries, it is not possible to register your work with a copyright office or government agency and where there is a registration process it is not required in order to obtain copyright protection.
Copyright provides a process by which you can state that a piece of work you have created is yours, this affords you the right to publish, distribute, copy or perform that work in public.
Once in the public domain however your work becomes vulnerable to plagiarism and theft by third parties. Copyright infringement is when, without your permission as the copyright owner, a large part or all of your work is used by another.
In order to register a copyright infringement and successfully defend your claim you will need to be able to prove that the work was created by you and the date of that creation. This can be harder than you would be excused for initially thinking, data can be corrupted and manipulated with increasing ease as hacking becomes more prevalent leading to more complicated and expensive security measures.
There are several common yet ineffective ways that creators often try to prove their ownership of work with limited or no success.
The Poor Man’s Copyright is a process whereby the creator seals a physical copy of the work in an envelope and mails it to themselves. This rudimentary attempt to prove ownership and date of creation is unsurprisingly not recognised as an effective method due to the ease with which the evidence can be tampered with and altered. A similar thought process is behind the method of using the time/date stamp on a computer file to verify the creation date, this too is corruptible as the electronic details can be altered. Yet another way that creators attempt to verify the proof of ownership and date of creation is by emailing the work to themselves or a friend, again this is an unreliable method as the time/date can be altered and would need to be backed up by the email service provider.
So how do you effectively record your creation as yours with irrefutable evidence of proof of ownership?
Obtaining proof of ownership by registering copyrights can be an expensive convoluted process especially when there are multiple works that need protecting. In addition to this, there are examples of fraudulent and ineffective online registration companies that leave you with no credible proof for the money you have paid.
Ok,..so far we've established that the most important and the hardest aspect of any copyright process is proving ownership but what does lifeHash actually do?
LifeHash simplifies the complexities of the copyright process by starting with the most important aspect.. definitely proving your digital ownership.
The LifeHash solution is available via mobile application, plug-ins and web browser. Once installed, all of your digital creations and interactions are automatically bound to your profile and immutably (forever) anchored into the blockchain.
Those interactions or creations may be; videos, documents, art, music, poems, books, screenplays, the list is endless.
Not only can LifeHash fully secure your digital copyright at the time of creation, but our platform also assists you to retrospectively secure any outstanding material you haven't yet secured.
The lifeHash mobile application is free to download and use. Freemium users get a limited version of the application that provides the average user with enough functionality to secure your most important creations!
Anyone who creates something that can be copyrighted, instantly owns that copyright, definitively proving this is problematic.
If you want to protect all of your creative rights, at source and automatically, LifeHash is the easiest and cheapest solution for individuals, freelancers, small businesses, and enterprises.
The way a solution like LifeHash works is by using Blockchain technology. This can offer several clear benefits when it comes to proving ownership of something.
First of all, Blockchain data is immutable. This means that it can’t be changed by anyone at a later stage. This makes it ideal for something like proving ownership because it decreases the potential for misunderstandings and fraud.
Secondly, all data on a blockchain is owned by the individual who submitted it. This means that you can control your own proof of ownership, instead of relying on a third party.
A blockchain is a very open system. All movements on a blockchain are public and can be viewed by anyone who knows where to look. Whilst we can manage some permissions for this through our solution, in essence, this creates an incredibly transparent way of proofing data. Disputes around the provenance of ownership data of, for example, a house or a car, are a thing of the past.
With a personal blockchain solution such as LifeHash, you will be able to report incidents in real-time and you will be able to record any relevant data to the blockchain by taking pictures and filing a report. LifeHash does this by using the infrastructure of public blockchains, such as Bitcoin to store and manage your proof of ownership.
Copyright automatically takes effect once you have created and fixed your work onto a tangible means for example creating a piece of music and recording it on a hard drive. Once that process is complete your creation has all the protection that copyright affords.
There is no need to register your work to obtain a copyright, in fact in many countries it is not possible to register your work with a centralised government agency.
Intellectual Property can be protected by Trademark, Patents, Copyrights, and other forms of legal protection.
Copyright is applicable to a wide range of works including; Literature, Sound, Drama, Art, and Film.
Whilst there are many types of Intellectual Property there are only four types of Intellectual Property Rights, these are;