Simple Things You Can Do to Check for Existing Copyrights

When you are looking to create something for yourself or your business, you need to make sure that it is not already copyrighted by someone else. For example, when having a logo designed for your business, you need to be certain that it is sufficiently unique to avoid any potential copyright lawsuits from taking place in the future. This also will help you avoid wasting time and money on having something designed that you won’t be able to use. Fortunately, there are a number of simple things you can do to make sure you are not unintentionally violating someone else’s intellectual property rights.

Perform a Copyright Search

One of the best places to start is a quick search at copyright.gov. There are a number of tools available that you can use to look for similar items that have already been protected by copyright. There are extensive records to sort through, but it can be difficult for an inexperienced person to capture all the relevant results, so it’s best to combine this search with other research efforts. Still, if you happen to turn up something in your search, you will have caught the potential conflict early, which can save you time and money.

Work with a Reputable Professional

If you are having a logo created or content produced by someone else, make sure you are using a reputable professional who is diligent about obtaining the appropriate licenses for any existing artwork incorporated into their product. It can be tempting to save money by hiring non-professionals to design items for your business, but if they “borrow” too much from the Internet, you could wind up in trouble.

Google Can Be Very Helpful

Google can be a free and easy way to look for existing work that might be copyrighted and cause you issues. You can do searches using the content you already have or perform a reverse image search to see if anything looks too similar to what you are planning to use. Just like the copyright search, this should not be seen as a foolproof way to find copyrighted material, but it is a simple method for catching some potential issues.

Work with a Copyright Attorney

Searching on your own has the benefit of being cheap, but it is difficult to do so comprehensively. Integrated General Counsel can conduct an in-depth copyright search based on your specific needs. We can also answer any questions and help you to avoid common pitfalls that businesses often run into when doing this type of work. We have helped numerous companies throughout California with all aspects of copyright law and would be honored to help you as well. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.