As a professional in the entertainment industry, your reputation is everything. You won’t be able to book shows or work with clients if people don’t trust you and respect your brand. You should have total control over how people and businesses use your original works, and you should receive compensation if other parties make money off of your creations.
Unfortunately, creative individuals often find their books subject to posting, plagiarism and outright theft by bad players in the entertainment industry. There are companies that would play your music without getting your permission or paying you royalties because they assume you won’t try to enforce your copyright. People can start to associate your creations with an unsavory business, like a strip club.
There are businesses that could print your original works of art on substandard t-shirts, making people associate your work with shoddy merchandise. How do you protect your reputation and your finances when another individual or business tries to profit off of your creative works?
You can enforce your copyright
As the individual who created original content or a business that paid someone for that creation, your copyright protections give you sole control over that original work. As soon as you first publish the creation online or make it accessible for purchase, you have the protection of copyright in general.
You can take things a step further by filing a formal copyright request with the United States Copyright Office. Although that last step isn’t strictly necessary to have legal copyright protections, will make it much easier to enforce copyright rules after a violation.
Tell the other party to stop as soon as you can
Before you take someone to court for a copyright violation if it caused financial or reputation damage to your business, you will want to stop them from the behavior in the first place.
Sending a cease-and-desist letter is a common way for creators to advise another party that their actions are a copyright violation. Someone does not need to violate a cease-and-desist letter to be vulnerable to legal action, including claims for financial compensation.
Understanding how intellectual property rights protect you as an entertainment professional will make it easier for you to protect your reputation and your creations.