Difference Between Copyright and Intellectual Property

Copyright vs Intellectual Property
 

Identifying the difference between copyright and intellectual property is not complex. The terms are not uncommon and are, in fact, related concepts. Those of us acquainted with the law governing intellectual property have an in-depth understanding of the two terms. For those of us not so acquainted, a simple explanation of both terms is sufficient to identify the distinction between the two. Intellectual property is a broad term while copyright represents a particular form of protection of intellectual property.

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual Property has been defined as an intangible creation of the human mind expressed in a tangible form, and it is assigned certain rights of property. It represents something original, something unique that we have never seen or heard before. An original idea does not constitute intellectual property. Thus, if a person has an idea to write a unique song, that idea does not fall within the definition of intellectual property, unless that person expresses that idea through a tangible form such as by writing the words of the song physically. In other words, Intellectual property is when a unique or original idea is expressed through physical means such as through a novel, music, dance, inventions, and others.

A person owns intellectual property if he/she created it or bought the intellectual property rights from the creator of such work. Intellectual property may have more than one owner and the owner could be either a person or a business. Given that it is a type of property, it can thus be sold or transferred. Examples of intellectual property include books, novels, inventions, music, words, phrases, designs, logos and emblems, names of products or brands.

The law of intellectual property is a popular area of law given the rapid technological development today. This development sometimes results in negative situations such as the unauthorized or illegal use of intellectual property , or in simple terms, using another’s idea without their permission or consent. This field of law aims to protect the exclusive rights of creators of original works. These rights are known as intellectual property rights and simultaneously constitute forms of intellectual property protection. Examples of such rights or forms of protection include copyright, patent, trademarks, and trade secrets.

Difference Between Copyright and Intellectual Property

Intellectual property – a unique or original idea in tangible form

What is Copyright?

Copyright, as noted above, is a form of protection or right granted to owners of intellectual property. It is defined as the legal right, or intangible and exclusive right of the creator of an original work or invention, to prevent or exclude any other person from reproducing, preparing derivative works, distributing, performing, displaying, or using the work covered by the copyright for a specific period of time. This means that the owner is the only person who can reproduce, publish, or distribute his/her work for a certain period of time, or has the sole right to do so. Keep in mind, however, that owners of intellectual property can sell or transfer their copyright (protection rights) to others; namely, publishers, distributing and/or recording companies.

Copyright essentially seeks to protect the expression of a person’s idea. Thus, for example, it will make known or publicize to the world that the XYZ song was created by Sam and not by Jim, Tom, Harry, or Jack. This also allows the creator of the original work to benefit, financially, from his/her creative efforts. Examples of copyright include the protection of printed works such as books, novels, poems, and other literary works, protection of musical and/or drama compositions, lyrics of a song, pictures, sculptural and architectural works, choreography, sound recordings and other such similar works. Violation of copyright will constitute an infringement of the owner’s right, better known as a copyright infringement. Works that are not protected by copyright can be used or reproduced by anyone indicating that the owner’s consent is not required. Copyright does not protect ideas. Instead, it protects the expression of ideas; meaning that the original work must be in tangible form in order to receive copyright protection.

 Copyright vs Intellectual Property

A form of protection granted to intellectual property owners

What is the difference between Copyright and Intellectual Property?

The difference between copyright and intellectual property is thus easy to identify. The terms are related concepts in that intellectual property constitutes a broad term encompassing the novel creations of the human mind while copyright is a form of protection of intellectual property.

• Definition of Intellectual Property and Copyright:

• Intellectual property represents an intangible creation of the human mind expressed in a tangible form.

• Copyright is a form of protection granted to owners of intellectual property.

• Concept of Intellectual Property and Copyright:

• When a unique or original idea is expressed through physical means such as books, music, or inventions it becomes an intellectual property.

• Copyright protects the expression of ideas and grants the owner the sole right to reproduce, publish or distribute his/her work for a certain period.

• Examples of Intellectual Property and Copyright:

• Intellectual Property includes books, novels, inventions, music, words, phrases, designs, logos and emblems, names of products or brands.

• Copyright includes the protection of printed works such as books, protection of musical and/or drama compositions, pictures, sculptural and architectural works, choreography.

 

Images Courtesy:

  1. Novels by  Piotrus (CC BY-SA 3.0)
  2. Copyright- all rights reserved via Wikicommons (Public Domain)