If you’re running a business in Chicago, it’s important to properly consider the copyright nuances of your projects. Copyright protects works of creativity and encourages innovation and, unfortunately, is often willfully or unknowingly neglected. When you’re investing in new content or services in the Windy City, you need to be sure that you’re fully developed, legally-compliant products. Knowing the top 5 things to consider when conducting a copyright search will help you protect yourself from potential pitfalls.

Understanding what copyright includes is the basic first step. Generally in the United States, copyright protects written material, pictorial, audio, motion pictures and sound recordings, and a variety of other creative products. However, works that have not been tangible fixed are not protected. Additionally, copyright protections only include the expression of ideas found in a fix form, and not the ideas that are expressed.

It's also important to remember that copyright applies to a creation the moment it is fixed in a tangible form. However, in order to secure a copyright, it’s a good idea to register your intellectual and creative property with the U.S. Copyright office. This is generally done prior to any works or products being released in order to prevent any legal issues or disputes.

You’ll also want to consider if license is needed in order to reproduce or use someone else’s work. Copyright issues can and do arise with the use of certain sounds or images. In some cases, its permissible to use in your work without a license, such as the use of fair use. There are also creative commons licenses, which allow for the free use of certain materials.

You’ll also want to consider if other forms of protection are necessary in order trademarks, which are brands of sort that can be names, phrases, symbols or designs. Trademarks, such as logos or style guides, are especially important for businesses and can help prevent competitors from using your work without permission.

Finally, hiring an attorney with expertise regarding local copyright laws is a great way to ensure that all of your bases are covered. Knowing Chicago laws and statutes can help ensure that you’re not liable for any violations. Fortunately, UpCounsel’s network of experienced lawyers provide high quality, cost-effective legal services for businesses of all sizes. You’re able to browse through lawyer’s profiles, client reviews and ratings, and even book free consultations to find the perfect legal counsel for your needs.


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