Legal Lingo: Protecting Your Creative Works Part I

Aug 25 2015

by Avard Turner, J.D., LL.M.


Have You Protected Your Creative Property?

If yours is a business that is driven by designs, artwork, writings, photography, music, sculpture, performance, blogging, and many other categories, then you will want to obtain copyright registration for your works; register your trademark; and if you’ve invented a new product, you will want to file for a patent. When I design for my stationery company, I always have retailers that ask me, “Which design is your favorite?” I cannot answer that question because I love all of them. They are all a part of me. They are like my children; I love each differently. Just like my children, each design represents a unique and different part of me that the other cannot possibly duplicate. Each design is important. If this is true, then it should be protected. However, I would like to suggest a comparison that might drive the point home a little further.

How many of you own a home, a vacation home, a business location, several business locations? Do you take care of those? Clean them, inventory them, make sure everything is working properly within them, insure them, protect them from burglars? Yes? Okay, well intellectual property, that stuff that we all create, is no different. It has value. Actually, it has quite a bit of value. In fact, since 1975, there has been a shift from real property to intellectual property. Now, intellectual property makes us 75% of a company’s assets. That is amazing! So, the take away is your creative works are worth protecting.

Copyright, Trademark, Patent, Licensing, and Trade Secrets

Some of you may be saying I have no idea the difference among any of these- copyright, trademark, patent, licensing, and trade secrets. It’s okay. You are among good company. Most people don’t. Honestly, creative people want to create, so why would you know this? Still, if it is your creative property, then the burden is on you to make sure you are “taking care of it.” Here is a chart that spells out each area of intellectual property. In future posts, I will delve into each area, so we all are on the same page about how to protect our creative works.

intellectual property copy

DISCLAIMER:::: The materials available in this article are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Angie Avard Turner Law and the user or browser.


Avard Turner, J.D., LL.M. View More Blog Posts from this Author

Angie Avard Turner is an attorney who exclusively represents clients in the creative arts industries including retailers, wholesalers, artists, photographers, event planners, bloggers, and other creative service providers.  She is licensed to practice law in the state of Georgia, but she is able to handle copyright and trademark issues nationally.  For more information regarding her practice, visit­­­. Angie is also the owner and creative director behind Hype Strype, a fine stationery company that caters to those who love bright colors and patterns. 

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2 responses on “Legal Lingo: Protecting Your Creative Works Part I

  1. Katy

    I struggle with figuring out how so many are reproducing art. I have researched but have not found a good source of information. A future post on that would be wonderful.

    Can I go to jail for reproducing art for an envelop liner?
    I found a great book plate that I would like to reproduce in a different size.
    How the heck do you contact the artist for permissions?
    It is a Japanese piece, old style, so does that matter?
    So many questions!

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