Legal Ramifications – The Basics Of Intellectual Property Law

All bloggers should know a little something about Intellectual Property (often called IP) law.

Last time on Legal Ramifications we learned a little about the law of libel and how important it is to be sure about your facts when you write something negative about a person that could effect their business.

Now let’s look at something more positive (although with a possible negative twist).  small copyright

Intellectual Property has been around for many hundreds of years.  Generally there are three “baskets” of IP – patents, trademarks and copyrights (there is a lot of other stuff – but I will talk about things like trade secrets some other time).

I don’t think that we have to worry too much about patents for bloggers.  A patent is the protection that a government gives to an inventor for the creation of a novel and useful invention that can be embodied in an object.  Not the kind of thing that will often arise in this space.

Copyrights, however, are created all the time.  A copyright is the right of an author to exclude others from copying the expression of his or her work.  That’s right, copyright does not protect ideas in the abstract, but only expression of those ideas in some tangible form.  Think of a novel, a film or a painting and you have the idea of some of the works that may be protected by copyright.

Trademarks, on the other hand, are words or symbols that have come to be understood by the public as representing the goods or services sold or rendered by a company or individual.  Think of Coca-Cola, Ford, or the Apple logo and you are thinking of trademarks.

Next time on Legal Ramifications I will go into the law of Copyright in a little more detail.  Both copyrights and trademarks are great things to own and develop.  If you use someone else’s IP though, it can mean big trouble (the negative twist).

  4 comments for “Legal Ramifications – The Basics Of Intellectual Property Law

  1. December 20, 2009 at 4:13 am

    Great topic that needs exploring. Please consider writing about Creative Commons as a new form of Copyright. Most haven’t yet heard of it, there’s lots of confusion and even a new copyright symbol for it. When should we use it? If you have any insights, it would be great.

  2. December 20, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Yes Nils, this is a dandy topic. And one that is getting a lot of attention nowadays, as more people are blatantly poaching blog posts (hook, line and sinker, in some cases) and calling them their own. It would be good if you could include some info on how we might try and protect against theft of our own work.

    Also, agree with Rhona, it would be great to get more info on Creative Commons.

  3. December 22, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    Interesting Post Nils,

    By the way,I entirely agree with Rhona and Deni, it would be awesome!

  4. Nils Montan
    December 26, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Dear Rhona, Devi and Israel – thanks for your comments. Yes, I will devote a post to the issue of the Creative Commons which should give us all some space to discuss. Nils

Comments are closed.