August 25, 2015 | Moira McKenzie

You need to think about your IP!

Are you a new up-and-coming artist or a small entertainment business wanting to expand?  Then before you go any further you need to think about protecting your intellectual property (IP).  Entertainment industries thrive on the commercialisation of creativity, which means you will benefit from protecting your brand and products.  Keep your talent safe.  This article is a general guide to things you need to consider as you start out in the industry.

Initially

Protect your brand by registering any trade mark associated with your performance or creative business.  Trade marks can include words, phrases, sounds, pictures, letters or a combination of all these things.  Register the name of your business and any associated logos or images. As an artist you may be able to get proprietary rights over your name if it is distinctive.

When designing any image or logos associated with your brand, make sure you think about:

  • Who is creating the images you are using?
  • Do you have an agreement over ownership of those designs?

Worth knowing

Copyright is automatic in Australia, which is great news for artists and people within the entertainment industry!  The moment you document your music, sound recordings or films your work is protected by copyright. Unlike trademarks there is no official registry or application process for copyright protection.  However, it may still be beneficial to include a copyright notice © on any publication of your work, as it will be useful to prove your ownership if needed at a later date.

Online

Your online presence is central to growing your business and spreading your image as an artist.  Think about registering a domain name that is unique to your brand.  Try to register your name or your trademark as your domain name to make the most of your exclusive trademark rights.

Licensing your IP

There are many different situations where you may want to permit others to use your IP, whether it is your music, logos, literature or name.  Here is a list of things to consider before leasing your IP:

  • Do you have a written agreement?
  • Is the IP being licenced a work protected by copyright or a trademark?
  • What are the parameters of the licence to use your IP?
  • Is there a clear termination date for when use of your IP expires?

Disclaimer

The information in this article does not constitute legal advice.  This article is aimed at giving a general background on issues to consider if you are a small entertainment business or an up-and-coming artist.  Please contact GI & Sanicki Lawyers if you are looking for legal advice on any of the above mentioned matters.