How to Protect Your Marketing Video as Intellectual Property

Protecting your own intellectual property is important for you and your company. You have only one way to ensure that your video marketing material remains your material — register a copyright.

Technically, you don’t need to officially register your copyright with the government in order to own the intellectual property rights to your video. However, formal registration is the best way to prove that you own the video and the only way that entitles you to sue others who violate your copyright.

The “poor man’s copyright” is a myth. Mailing a document to yourself or filing a copy with a writer’s guild or an attorney is insufficient protection.

The U.S. Copyright Office is the office of public record for copyright registration. Properly registered material is deposited at the Library of Congress, which notifies the public that you’re the original creator of whatever item you’re registering. To copyright your video, submit an online application and click the Registration button in the row of buttons at the top of the page. Attach a digital copy of the footage you want to protect. The filing fee is $35. Just do it.

To give notice of your claim on the ownership of the copyright in your film, simply add the copyright symbol (©), followed by your name or company name and the year you created it and including the phrase All rights reserved.

The purpose of the copyright notice is to let others know that you own the video and that you expect to be asked for permission before anyone tries to sell, license, reproduce, or use your material. Insert the copyright symbol, date, and name in the footer of every page of your written material. Also insert the symbol, date, and name on a title slide at either the beginning or end of the video.

You cannot legally copyright an idea, but you can copyright the words or video you use to express that idea. Even if you have a great idea, if someone wants to write or demonstrate it differently than you did, they have that right.

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