What the SCOTUS Rulings Mean for Content Creators

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Intellectual property, copyright, and trademark law protect all kinds of created works. What we create—artwork, writings, music, and even logos—ultimately can be stolen, but more importantly, oftentimes brands can stir the pot in a big way by simply issuing out what is commonly called a cease and desist letter to halt anyone trying to take advantage of a brand name or other creation that would not belong to the perpetrator. This is the essence of copyright infringement: if you never had the permission of the owner, you simply cannot use that property.

Recent Supreme Court Rulings Added More to the Law—And Content Creators Need to Know About Them

SCOTUS issued two rulings, in fact, with close evaluation of statutory language to accomplish several agendas. In the first, Fourth Estate Publication Benefit Corporation v. Wall-Street.com, LLC, justices ruled that complete registration is absolutely required before attempting any dispute or claim to cease and desist. This implies that the claimant would already have full legal rights to whatever property in question specifically in writing, filed with the USPTO. Anything less wouldn’t be admissible in court upon filing an order to cease and dispute a trademark, copyright or intellectual property.

The second ruling involved full costs as provision for a discretionary award in the event a claimant wins a dispute. Typically this involved anything from non-taxable legal fees and expert witness costs, but as the rules now suggests, the term “full” in relation to costs only apply to the expenses related to the categories of the case filing itself. This ruling was applied to another dispute involving Rimini Street, Inc. v. Oracle USA, Inc.

What Does This Mean in Relation to Copyright Law?

It simply means that you should no longer wait to register any of your works as a creative professional. Take immediate action before even hearing about the prospect of other parties trying to take advantage of everything from photographs to novels to poems and even sculptures. You have a right to your intellectual properties, your creations and more. However that also means you must exercise the responsibility to ensure you have full registration of said properties even before the event of discovery that someone is taking advantage of your work.

In general it does mean that there is more of a balance with respect to the law given the amount of scary litigations going on as many continually dispute everything from the word “the” to a recipe for cheesecake. People can be quite possessive of their properties, and all rights must be observed. Don’t assume that just because you created it means it’s protected by law.

Do your due diligence and file appropriately to ensure no one can touch encroach upon your intellectual property. Reach out to a business attorney to make sure that your works are fully protected.

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