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Guidelines on When to Get a Copyright or a Trademark Businesses, artists and musicians find it difficult to distinguish the difference between a copyright and a trademark. And so to clarify the distinction between these two is to know the legal and functional objectives of the words. A trademark or service mark is defined as a name, word, symbol or device that is used in a business about a product or service to indicate the origin of the product or service, and thus distinguishing them from the product or service of other business. You use trademark to hold off competitors in using similar marks that would confuse your market, and thereby leading your market back to you as the source, sponsor, affiliate or the endorser of the particular product or service.
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Trademarks or service marks does not necessarily need a federal registration in interstate commerce, but you may also register with the Patent and Trademark Office or PTO to have a sense of originality and claim to your marks. Note that trademark rights in the United States came up from the actual use in the industry or commerce, and you cannot make a reservation unless these marks will be used in the coming future for commerce.
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Although trademarks do not need federal registration for you to be protected of your products or service, but it could be worthwhile of an investment if you are going to use your marks for some significant projects for some time. A copyright is a kind of intellectual property protection for authors or owners of works that are original to them in the areas of literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other works that could be either published or unpublished. An owner of a copyright is given the exclusive rights by the US Copyright Act to reproduce the copyrighted works, to have copyrighted works distributed, to create another work derive from the original work, to perform in public the copyrighted work, and to display the copyrighted work in public. The coverage of copyrights are works of art (2 or 3 dimensional), forms of images like pictures, photographs, graphic designs and drawings, recordings of all kinds like songs, music and sound, written works like books, manuscripts, and publications, and performance arts like plays, movies, and shows. Further, a trademark considers the elements of any term, design, number or combination applied to goods or services that would enable a consumer to identify the source of the mark. Copyright on the other hand is a protection of an original work once the work has been fixed in a permanent medium like book, painting or compact disc. Be clarified that copyrights only give protection to a permanent expression of a work but not including the idea behind the expression.