Creating a piece of art (be it a painting, poem, song or story) is one thing. Understanding the rights you own in your work, and how to best protect them, is another. As an artist, you might also be curious about how to commercialize those rights to create revenue. Whether you’re a writer, musician, visual artist or another kind of creator, you’re not going to want to miss our next workshop with McInnes Cooper.
On Thursday, September 22, we’re kicking off the fall session of our “Business Workshops for Artists” series with Patrick Kerr, Intellectual Property Lawyer and a licensed Canadian trademark agent based in McInnes Cooper’s Moncton office, who will cover the Intellectual Property basics artists and creators need to know.
All are welcome to join this one-hour session, which will be hosted online via Zoom and is offered for free thanks to the generous support of the Law Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador.
We recently spoke with Patrick to learn more about copyright and some of the common issues that might arise for creatives.
Business & Arts NL: What are a couple of the most common issues that come up with regards to intellectual property rights for creatives and artists, in your experience?
Patrick Kerr: Item #1: Who owns what – does the creator (author) own the IP or is it the company and what types of intellectual property rights exist. Item #2: How do I protect my intellectual property?
Business & Arts NL: Some creatives may be wary of sharing their work online, considering the ease with which it can potentially be stolen, plagarized, etc. (e.g. a writer sharing a short story on their blog). What are a couple of the most effective ways that they can protect themselves and their work online?
PK: Ultimately it always comes back to: What is a copyright? If you’ve exercised effort, skill and judgment, and you’ve created a work, then you have copyright over that work, which means that you can preclude others from reproducing a substantial portion of the work. Those rights arise upon creation. So as soon as you’ve written that short story, you can (with some exceptions for fair dealing and if they created the same work independently of your work), prevent them from reproducing a substantial portion of your work. With that in mind, if you write the short story and publish it online, you are giving people the opportunity for people to steal it (i.e. reproduce a substantial portion of it). This is the risk you take when publishing your work, whether online or otherwise. It is then up to the owner of the copyright to police, protect and enforce their IP rights. So, by publishing your work online or otherwise you are opening yourself up to the potential for people to stealing your ideas. What you need to keep in mind is that copyright protection provides protection of original expression, not the underlying idea. By way of example, J.K. Rowling would probably preclude others from writing a story about a wizard with a scar on his forehead who goes to a wizarding school, but she probably could not stop someone writing a book which took place at a wizarding school.
So, the question all comes back to: What is copyright? Who owns copyright? And what does copyright entitle you to?
Business & Arts NL: Who would you encourage to attend this workshop?
PK: People looking to commercialize their artistic work, e.g. it can be people looking to publish their works, artists who are looking to license their paintings or photographs, graphic designers who create logos for others.
Workshop: Creativity and the Law: Intellectual property basics for artists and creators
Date/Time: Thursday, September 22 from 1-2pm NT
Location: Online via Zoom
Registration: Click here