Ordered List

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

So it turns out that ideas per se are not subject to copyright. They aren't trademarks, designs, inventions or patents so the long and short of it seems to involve holding them close to your chest and hoping desperately that no will steal them.

Lawyers I've spoken to seem stumped and the fresh faced bank manager at my local branch got all fidgety before he admitted he didn't have a clue. It seems we're an unusual case. Creating an enterprise in full view of the world is not the usual way of doing things.

But since we're doing it anyway, I looked into it a little further. As far as I can tell, ideas themselves are not protectable but documentation is. Documenting ideas in some kind of date-stamped way then is copyrightable and protection enough as it is recognised as defendable collateral in any kind of legal dispute over theft.

For reference this applies to any kind of creativity. According to the Government's
Business Link Website" You automatically hold the copyright on any literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works that you create or that your business employs somebody to create. These works can range from information booklets and computer programs to sound recordings and films."

It is difficult however to enforce IP protection so it helps to be able to prove authorship and date. The two recommended approaches are

  1. Lodge your ideas with a lawyer or bank for safekeeping
  2. Registered post them to yourself and keep the package unopened
Just to be sure, I've done both so I guess we're now as protected as we're going to be and can get on with being openly creative!

More info on this in the Protecting your business & ideas section of the Business Link site. Have a look at the bit on Copyright.

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