30 years ago, it was so easy to protect one’s intellectual property. If you were a musician, your music would be available to your fans only on CDs. If you were an artist, your art would be on physical canvasses. For writers, their work would be published in books or newspapers. However, using these methods meant that it would take a long time before one reached their supporters.
The creation of the internet turned the world into a global village. Within seconds, one can reach millions of people worldwide. Artists have taken advantage of this opportunity and used social media, websites, and forums to achieve their supporter easily. However, this internet age has come with new challenges artists did not foresee
What are intellectual property laws?
Intellectual property laws fall under four categories; patents, copyrights, trade secrets and trademarks. Artists fall under the copyrights law. Copyright law seeks to give an artist exclusive rights to use and distribute their work. ¬Copyrights laws are only implemented within a territory. They also vary depending on a county. Enforcing copyright laws is not an easy task, especially when it comes to online intellectual property.
Challenges artists face
More than other ages, the internet age artists have more challenges on their plates. These challenges include:
Ever watched a movie where hackers take over governments and bring government businesses to a halt? Well, it happens in the real world too. Hacking does not discriminate. It happens to banks, companies, governments and even artists.
Hacking involves exploiting a site’s old CMS installs, vulnerable codes, security configurations, and extensions, or using brute force to get full control of someone’s website. Hackers commit this crime to leak information, to steal user’s financial information, to bring a site down, or ask the owner for ransom.
Plagiarism is an online monster that continually shutters the dreams of artists, especially writers. Plagiarism involves publishing another person’s creative content on one’s site for personal gain. If you search for an article you posted on your website, you may find someone has copied the whole article or chunks of the article and is passing this work as their own.
In music, artists have been grappling with challenges posed by cloners. Cloners are people who download the latest hit from an artist’s website or music streaming platforms, and then they will record their version of the song and try to piggyback on its popularity.
Name changers are a group of people who will change the title of your album, article, painting, or photos into various variations to sell the content to different unsuspecting customers.
Torrent is a technology that allows users to transfer huge data files over the internet within minutes. This technology was meant for good. However, some people have corrupted this technology and used it to cause harm to artists.
Torrent sites are websites where unscrupulous people upload the music, books, TV shows, movies, paintings, and poems they have obtained in legal and illegal means. You may be wondering why someone would upload other people’s intellectual property for others to download for free. Well, these sites earn their money through ads or by infecting someone’s computer and accessing their financial details.
Each year, artists lose about $12 billion to these torrent sites. Music bodies like RIAA have been on a campaign to get governments and website hosts to shut down known torrent sites. This has seen some torrent sites get shut down, but some are still functioning.
Your supporters are your greatest asset. They are supposed to report any of your intellectual work they find on other sites that do not have your copyrights permission, right? Wrong. When it comes to safeguarding intellectual property online, the masses are uneducated. People assume just because they can access their favorite’s artist’s property online, the source of the property does not matter.
Different laws in different countries
Another challenge that an art gallery will face when protecting their work online is the different application of copyrights laws in different countries. You may have found the person who plagiarized your content, but you will have to let them go if there are no specific copyrights laws in their country.
You can protect your work online by:
Hiring an artist patent lawyer
Registering your work
Adding a watermark feature
Ask your fans to report any plagiarized content.
Putting the © on your work