How To Copyright a Service
So you’re thinking of going into business for yourself, and you know that you have a service so unique that it’s going to be a huge success. Or you already own a business, and you’ve come up with an idea how to provide an additional service that your competitors don’t already offer. But how do you make sure that you can bring this service into the public eye and not have it stolen by your competitors?
You need to copyright the service. This is where you’re protecting the service as your own, and making it illegal for anyone else to copy any part of the service without paying you a fee for that privilege. However, there are certain things that cannot be copyrighted, so you need to make sure that your service falls under the jurisdiction of what can be protected.
What Can Be Copyrighted?
According to the US of 1976, there are a variety of services that can be copyrighted, as long as you can prove that they are a service. These include (but are not limited to):
– Literary works
– Musical works (including any accompanying words)
– Pantomimes and choreographic works (such as dances)
– Motion pictures and other audiovisual works
– Sound recordings
– Architectural works
– Dramatic works (again, including any accompanying words)
– Pictorial, graphic and sculptural works
Although this list is fairly specific, there are variations that can be covered by copyright laws that may not be immediately obvious by this list. Therefore, if your service is something as simple as a new tool that can be used in architecture that is extremely basic but no-one else has thought of, you can get it copyrighted. There are a host of “sub-articles” that are applicable to be copyrighted, so the best thing to do is get legal advice.
How Can I Copyright?
One of the simplest ways to copyright anything with very little cost is by doing it yourself. Many people don’t realize you can do this, and as a result, end up spending a small fortune in getting a copyright registered. Yet this can be avoided.
The simplest way to copyright anything is put the service, or idea, down on paper and as soon as you’ve completed this, that’s it – you have copyright. To make it even safer, date it, make a copy, seal the original in an envelope and post it to yourself. When you receive the letter, leave it unopened, as the mailing date proves your idea creation date.
However, to really protect your creation, you should seek the advice of a copyright attorney, who not only can register your idea with the US Copyright offices, making your service or idea completely public and therefore far less likely to be stolen, but can also represent you if you need to sue anybody for copyright theft. Although this can be reasonably expensive, it’s a lot less than having your service stolen by a competitor and watching them make all the money you should have been earning.