9. Does simply putting a copyright notice on my work protect it from infringement?

No. But placing a copyright notice on a work that has already been registered can affect what damages can be recovered in a copyright infringement suit.

10. What is “infringement?”

Infringement is the use of a copyrighted work–copying, reproducing, distributing, or displaying, or making a new work based on the original–without the permission of the copyright owner.

1. What is a trademark?

A trademark is used to indicate the source of goods or services in commerce. A mark which applies to goods is called a trademark; a mark which applies to services is called a service mark.

2. What can be a trademark?

A company or product name, a logo, a character, or even a color or a sound can be considered a trademark.

3. How is a trademark different from a copyright?

A trademark indicates the source of goods or services. A copyright protects the expression of an idea in a tangible form.

4. Can something be protected by both trademark and copyright?

Sometimes. A logo, for example, is an image which can be protected by copyright. When the logo is used to indicate the source of goods or services—that is, to represent or indicate the company which provides those goods or services—it may be trademarked in addition to being copyrighted. The holder of the copyright to the image and the owner of the trademark may or may not be the same.

5. How do I get a trademark?

A trademark can be obtained simply by using the mark in commerce, but while use may create a claim to a mark, the mark is not well protected by use alone.

6. How can I protect my trademark?

You can protect your trademark by registering it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This is best done in consultation with an attorney.

7. Do I have to register my trademark?

No, but registration has many advantages. It establishes your ownership of the mark, provides a basis on which to contest infringement of the mark, and increases the damages which you may obtain if someone uses the mark without permission.

1. Protecting artwork

a. Do I need to be concerned with copyright if I show my work in galleries?

Yes. Copyright governs the display of your works. Even though you legally retain your copyright after you sell your tangible work when you transfer it to a buyer, it is wise to ensure that the purchaser understands this, and that your copyright is protected before the work leaves your possession.

b. Do I need to be concerned with copyright if my work is produced for publication?

Yes—even more than someone whose work is primarily shown in galleries. Copyright governs the reproduction of your work, which means that you have to be aware of—and protect—your copyrights when your work is reproduced in any way, whether in gallery catalogs, in any form of printed matter, on websites, or on merchandise.

c. Can I copyright or trademark my artistic style?

No. “Style” is not copyrightable, but copyright may cover elements of an image which you have created if someone else copies it.