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Guidelines on When to Get a Copyright or a Trademark The distinction between a copyright and a trademark is often confusing to businesses, artists and musicians. This confusion is understandable, and so to best explain these two is to look at the legal and functional purposes of the words. If you use a word, name, symbol or device in your business to connect the source of the goods or services to your business, and therefore would distinguish you from the other products or services, then a trademark or service mark is applicable for you apply. Trademarks are the normally used to avoid others in using similar marks that will only confuse your market on which is the source, or the affiliation, or the sponsor and endorser of the product or service among competitors.
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Federal registration is not a necessity where trademarks or service marks is concern, however, for a sense of ownership in the interstate commerce, it is also good to be registered with the Patent and Trademark Office called the PTO. Note that trademark rights in the United States came up from the actual use in the industry or commerce, and you cannot make a reservation unless these marks will be used in the coming future for commerce.
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Although trademarks do not need federal registration for you to be protected of your products or service, but it could be worthwhile of an investment if you are going to use your marks for some significant projects for some time. Copyright is defined as a protection of an intellectual property of authors for their original works like in literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other works that could be both published or not yet published. If your work is copyrighted, it means you are given the exclusive rights by the US Copyright Act, to reproduce your copyrighted work, to create another work derive from the original copyrighted work, to distribute replicas or copies of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, and to show the copyrighted work also publicly. The various works that are covered by copyrights are as follows, 2 or 3 dimensional works of arts, forms of images like pictures, photographs, graphic designs and drawings, recordings of all kinds like music, songs and sounds, written works like books, manuscripts and publications, and performance arts like plays, movies and shows. Note that a trademark will enable the consumer to relate to the original source of the goods or services through the term, design number or combination of these elements. Copyright on the other hand is a protection of an original work once the work has been fixed in a permanent medium like book, painting or compact disc. And know that copyrights only protect the permanent expression but not the idea underlying an expression.