Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Copyrights 101 - Using Resources Already Available

Your Tax Dollars Are Hard At Work!

While doing research for today's blog, I was visiting the "Holy Land of Copyrights"...The US Copyright Office Website. I ran across a few new features and decided I would take this blog to discuss a wealth of information that is at any one's finger tips if you just decide to use it.

The US Copyright Office holds a wealth of information and can answer many questions a copyright holder may have. Rest assured, it is the first place most attorneys go when questions arise. There are all sorts of resources, such as:

Circulars and Brochures - These are short (1-4 page articles) that go straight to the heart of a single topic such as Copyright Basics, Work for Hire, Specimens, Visual Arts, etc. These Circulars are not the "end all - be all" for copyright law, but they answer many general questions and open many copyright holders eyes to the rights and responsibilities in the copyright laws.

Factsheets - These are one page, quick reference guides and serve to answer questions such as fees, contribution to a collection, fair use and even RECIPES (yummm......).

Forms - The most up to date forms for each classification can be found on the website. As well, you will find the "step by step" directions. The US Copyright Office website is great to help you with PROCEDURE but not with substance. That is where a consultation with your legal advisor is necessary to make sure all your ducks are in a row. (Don't forget to review our blog on that!)

The information changes often. There is a fairly decent search engine and the US Copyright Office continues to improve it. It is not a visual database, but there is hopes that one day there will be.


You still cannot register your copyright on line. Even if you can...I don't know if it will be such a good idea. Our firm has signed up to be a "beta tester" so we will keep you informed. The US Trademark Office registration process is fantastic...but it is a different animal. It is hard to say whether or not the US Copyright Office will be able to adapt the copyright process into an "on line" viability. As soon as we know...we'll let you know!


Yes, even the US Government can entertain you! If you want to know some general copyright facts or even explain it to younger artists, try this program from the US Copyright Website:

Here's some great items. And for those of you questioning what I am doing pasting clip art, links, etc. - US Government Items are in the public domain and we are using them for comment!

There are many options available and we encourage you to use them! They aren't the definitive answers, but a place to start. The key to remember is: Every situation is different, but there are many facts that remain the same.

Many blogs review products, etc. At our site, we review the Copyright Office! You gotta love it!

Happy Midweek!

Create with Your Heart and Head!



Robin Beam said...

Thanks for the wealth of information, Mommy of Miss Marguerite and Buford!

xo, R.

Tammy L. Browning-Smith, J.D., LL.M said...

We are always happy to share information here!


The Fine Print!

Since there may be legal discussions going on...there must be a disclaimer!

This blog is for educational and information purposes only. It does not constitute the practice of law. The attorney who writes this blog is only licensed in the State of Ohio and Michigan. There is NO attorney-client relationship of any type. You must sign appropriate documenation and have appropriate new client counseling to be a client of Browning-Smith, P.C. Each and every situation is different and all readers must seek his or her own legal counsel. The information on this blog is not guaranteed for any purposes nor is it to be relied on.