Firstly, let’s establish exactly what a “copyright” is. To give it a legalese definition, copyright is a person’s exclusive right to reproduce, publish, or sell their original work of authorship. In other words, it’s pretty much a certificate proving your ownership of a creation.
Examples of works that require a copyright, include: photographs, literature, music, dramatic or otherwise artistic works, as well as architectural work. There are of course more and more copyrights created every day that do not fall into any of those categories: logos, technological hardware, programming code.
What does holding a copyright allow you to do? Basically, anything:
- Reproduce your work
- Build or take away from aspects of your work. In other words, create derivatives
- Sell you work to the public
- Perform your work (if applicable)
- Display your work publicly
Although holding a copyright will protect your expression of ideas, it cannot protect an idea in and of itself. For instance, taking a picture at a common scenic spot entitles you to a copyright of the image you took; it does not, however, give you a monopoly over who may or may not create their own reproductions of that same scenic spot in the future.
If you wish to make a profit from your work, you are free to license your creations out for commercial usage. This will allow you to collect revenue without losing ownership of your copyright. In order to formally create such a commercial relationship, it is crucial to have a licensing agreement in place that outlines the exact terms and conditions of usage. As such, the key benefit to owning your copyright is that you are protected by the law against illegal usage… and, of course, you can make money off your work if you so wish. Tools like CopyrightsWorld’s Infringement Monitoring ensure that you are immediately notified of any potential unlawful usage of your copyrighted work.