Hi, I am in need of advice about copyright. When I apply for one
Copyright for what country? Assuming USA see http://www.copyright.gov
Many other countries have similar sites specific to them.
Unfortunately the US web site and rules are somewhere in the middle
of a multi-year rethinking the basic intent of which is to
"simplify" things. (Beware, “simplification” may also mean you must
have pretty current computer hardware and software or jump through
The basic answer to your “each” question is yes, file one $35
electronic or $45 paper registration for each design IF you
think it worthwhile and UNLESS they can qualify as a "collection."
And there it gets murky.
As Daniel pointed out, for jewelry items the odds are it will never
be worthwhile to register for each item. And “registration” DOES NOT
"grant" you a copyright, you already own the copyright (as long, of
course, as you did not copy, or derive your work from, someone else
and you weren’t working for hire!). As far as calling it a
"collection" and doing it under all one title, e.g., “2008
Collection” generally, yes-you-can-but-what’s-it-worth-in-court.
It’s still YOU that must, through civil actions, enforce your
presumed copyright in the courts. Will a court that sees, among some
amalgam of stuff you happened to do in 2008, that you have a rose
pendant determine that someone else’s subsequent rose looks somewhat
like yours allow you to enforce your presumed copyright against them?
Very doubtful. If your “collection” has a very specific NOVEL AND NEW
theme of which there is no prior record (sounds more like patent
criteria but for expression) and for which you have 15 such themed
items in your collection registration and that you have advertised
worldwide–not just via a website–and someone has extended or built
on that with a couple of different items then will the court let you
enforce your copyright against them? Much more likely but not a
certainty. Is it likely to be worth $10,000? $100,000? and up? FOR
YOU to get that judgement? The answer will differ for different
people so you’ll need to answer it for yourself.
Will some IP attorney be happy to file the paperwork for you for an
advance “retainer”? You betcha. Will same attorney be happy to take
your infringement case to court for you–again for a rolling advance
"retainer"–you betcha. Who will win? Who is the one that has the
(court result/cost) lose/lose (high odds), win/lose (high odds), and
win/win (low odds) possible outcome set in the game? Um, it’s you.
The attorney’s will nearly always win financially.
Business names generally should have nothing whatsoever to do with
copyright for a sole proprietor. A business can be an
author/copyright owner if a work is done “for hire” for the business
but if you are working for yourself you should almost certainly do
any copyright registration as the “author.” A business name might
have some “trademark” value but that doesn’t protect your designs at
all, it just means others can’t use your good name as their own. Be
aware, however, that the vast majority of business names in and of
themselves are not “trademarks” but can (usually) stop another
business from getting a registered trademark for that name within the
specific country the business is in.
James E. White
Inventor, Marketer, and Author of “Will It Sell? How to Determine If
Your Invention Is Profitably Marketable (Before Wasting Money on a
Patent)” Info Sites: www.willitsell.com www.inventorhome.com,
www.idearights.com www.taletyano.com www.booksforinventors.com