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Guidelines on When to Get a Copyright or a Trademark

Copyright and trademark are confusing words on which would be applicable to businesses, artists and musicians. In order to have a clear understanding of the two words, it is best to explain and define them.

A trademark or service mark is defined as a name, word, symbol or device that is used in a business about a product or service to indicate the origin of the product or service, and thus distinguishing them from the product or service of other business.

With trademarks, you are preventing your competitors to use similar marks that will create confusion among your consumers with the source, affiliation, sponsorship and endorsement of the product or service.
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Trademarks or service marks does not necessarily need a federal registration in interstate commerce, but you may also register with the Patent and Trademark Office or PTO to have a sense of originality and claim to your marks. 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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A federal registration may not be a necessity for trademarks, but investing in this could give additional protection and of beneficial to your company if you are going to use your marks for an important and significant project or event.

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.

An owner of a copyright is given the exclusive rights by the US Copyright Act to reproduce the copyrighted works, to have copyrighted works distributed, to create another work derive from the original work, to perform in public the copyrighted work, and to display the copyrighted work in public.

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.

Any term, design, number or a combination of these features, will enable the consumer to identify to the original source through the trademark. 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. Be clarified that copyrights only give protection to a permanent expression of a work but not including the idea behind the expression.