educational

Intellectual Property

Paul Hood
Editor's note: Whether it's the pilfering of photo and or video content, entire websites or business practices, the online world, both mainstream and adult, is rife with issues of intellectual property infringement. As some of the basic factors involved are often the subject of confusion, I present the following basic definition of intellectual property for your consideration:

Ignorance of the law excuses no one. If you are unaware of your law, then you are in for big trouble. To better understand what your rights and duties are, educate yourself.

Issues regarding intellectual property rights are an important topic of discussion as many things revolve around this theme. Knowing what an intellectual property is, is the first step in our education. The U.S. Department of State defines it as:

"Creative ideas and expressions of the human mind that possess commercial value and receive the legal protection of a property right. The major legal mechanisms for protecting intellectual property rights are copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Intellectual property rights enable owners to select who may access and use their property, and to protect it from unauthorized use."

This definition gives emphasis on the word protect. Indeed, it is designed to extend protection to the creator of a certain creative work or a product. Legal provisions are installed to give the owner the exclusive right to control access and use of his property. The law provides for specific procedures when a violation of these rights is committed.

Copyrights and industrial property are two categories that make up intellectual property.

Copyright laws provide for the owner an exclusive right to control access of his creative work. Variations may exist with different countries but this is the basic idea.

Industrial property includes such things as patents and trademarks. A patent is defined as a legal grant issued by a government permitting an inventor to exclude others from making, using, or selling a claimed invention during the patent's term.

A trademark on the other hand is a name or symbol secured by legal registration that identifies a manufacturer's or trader's product or service and distinguishes it from other products and services.

Any infringement on these rights entitles the owner to a day in court. Filing a lawsuit is a must if you want to be compensated for the damages you have received. Of course you won't know if you are already being violated unless you know what you're rights are.

There is a great need for us to be familiar with the concepts of intellectual property laws for us to know when we are being wronged and what needs to be done to address that wrong. Like they always say, "Knowledge is Power."

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