Hmmm…where was I? Ahh yes, we are talking about money, honey. In this 3 part series, I discuss ways for you to use intellectual property (“IP”) to generate additional streams of revenue. In part 1, I talked about trademarks, and in part 2 we hit patents. In this post, we’ll talk about the many ways you can use copyright to bring in the dough.
IP And Money Part 3: Copyright
Copyright protects the creator of a work of art, literature, music, sound recording, or work of original authorship by giving the creator the right to control the use of the work. Copyright automatically comes into existence the moment the creator fixes her work into a tangible form, and federal law provides for a bundle of rights associated with that copyright. These rights include the right to reproduce the work, to distribute copies, to prepare derivative (or adaptations) of the work, to perform the work, and to display the work.
The registration process for copyrights is a lot easier and simpler than the process for trademark and patents. To complete the process, you must fill out a registration form and deposit copies of the work with the Copyright Office. By registering your original work with the copyright office, your copyright becomes a matter of public record. It also gives you certain advantages in court if someone copies your work or accuses you of copying.
Copyright and Money
Most small businesses today produce some type of copyright protectable content on a regular basis. Examples of this type of content are blog posts, videos, audio recordings, memes, etc. And by using your bundle of rights under the copyright laws, you can repurpose that content to create revenue via information products.
Information products provide consumers with the information they need or want to solve a problem. There are many versions of info products out there including tip sheets, e-books, membership sites, online courses, consulting and coaching programs, and step-by-step guides. By simply transforming the blog posts, videos, and recordings you’ve already made into another format, you have created another revenue stream without reinventing the wheel. (Extra tip – check out a few resources like E-Junkie, Wishlist Member, 1ShoppingCart for some ideas on this.)
If you sell physical products like works of art, consider creating different ways to reproduce and display your work. My favorite example of this is Zen Pencils. The artist and owner of Zen Pencils, Gavin Aung Than, creates original cartoons using inspirational quotes. Instead of simply marketing his products to newspapers, magazines, and galleries, he sells his original cartoons directly to consumers via his website. He also reproduces his work on posters, pillows, and tote bags, and later compiled some of his best cartoons into a book that is available for sale as well.
Finally, if you are in the music industry capitalizing on copyright is fundamental to earning money. Copyright law protects the music, lyrics, sound recording, performance, published editions of any musical work, and any underlying merchandising. Therefore, a small business involving the creation of any original musical works must take its copyrights seriously if it expects to make any money. One of the best ways to license, monitor, and collect on copyright licenses for music is to join a performance rights organization like ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers), SESAC (Society of European Stage Authors and Composers), or BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.). These organizations monitor, enforce, collect and pay royalties to copyright owners for their musical works. Furthermore, because of their size, they have more resources to handle that process than a small business owner would have on her own.
So that’s it for the 3-part series on IP and Money. Have a question? I’d love to hear from you. Please post your ideas, comments, and questions in the comment section below.
The information is provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is not legal advice, and the author is not your attorney. This information is to be used at your own risk based on your own judgment. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer licensed in your state.