15 Jan All about Copyright Law in The Age Of Content Creation

Social media and video platforms have truly exploded in popularity over the years, creating more and more opportunities for content creation. Many people now create social media posts and blog articles as their full-time job. While making content, however, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the rules of copyright. Fortunately, today, that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about.

First, let’s start off with some basics.

What Is Copyright?

To talk about copyright, we first need to introduce ourselves to a concept called Intellectual Property (or IP for short). According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), intellectual property “refers to creations of the mind”. This can include any number of works such as paintings, music, designs, literature, and much more.

Copyright, in turn, is a type of intellectual property that protects the author’s work.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), copyright protects “intellectually created works…that are original and exist in a tangible medium”. There are a lot of things that may fall under this umbrella. For example, paintings, music, and even software code may fall under copyright. Do keep in mind, however, that there are other types of IP, such as patents and trademarks.

Copyright Law

Copyright law can certainly seem daunting at first glance. But it’s really not as bad as it seems. Let’s go over some important terms that you might encounter in copyright law.

Copyright Registration

Most of the time, copyright protection is automatically granted to works that qualify (for example, paintings, songs, movies, novels, etc.). Having said that, this protection isn’t always foolproof. That’s where the U.S. Copyright Office can come in. Registering your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office can offer some additional benefits and protection. For example, it allows for a record of the copyright to be created. Additionally, it also allows you to pursue legal action and statutory damages. Last but not least, it can simply help deter possible infringers.

Copyright Symbol

Have you ever seen that small © symbol at the bottom of a website or on the inside cover of a book? Well, that’s the copyright symbol. Generally speaking, the copyright symbol helps indicate to readers that a piece of work is copyrighted.

Trademark Vs Copyright

To put it into simple terms, trademarks and copyrights exist to protect different kinds of intellectual property. As we mentioned above, copyright is often used by artists or creators to protect their work (for example, a painting or a poem). Trademarks, on the other hand, are usually meant to protect a logo, brand, slogan, or something else that identifies your goods/service, or company. It’s important to know that a lot of the elements of a brand can be trademarked. After all, a company’s identity is made up of more than just the name.

Here are some well-known examples of trademarks:

  • Coca-Cola®
  • Just do it®
  • Under Armour®
  • The Nike “swoosh”.

Copyright Infringement

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright infringement is when…

“a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner”.

Put into simple words, this means that you should avoid using someone else’s work without their permission.

Copyright infringement can come in many shapes and forms. For example, printing copies of someone’s painting and selling it without permission could be copyright infringement. There are also countless high-profile examples of songs or music being used without the original artist’s permission. This can sometimes be a form of copyright infringement as well.

Copyright Lawyer

With the amount of content being made every day now, copyright law has become more and more important. A good copyright lawyer can help you with copyright registration or infringement issues. The best part is that they can answer your questions, including whether or not a work is eligible for copyright in the first place, and the process involved.

As for the cost of hiring a lawyer, this varies by practice. Many lawyers charge an hourly rate, although some may take a case on a contingency fee basis. If a lawyer takes on a case on a contingency basis, that generally means that their fee comes out of the final settlement amount, not an upfront fee. For example, the Cochran Firm Philadelphia office does take on a lot of personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we only get paid when you do. Additionally, many practices may also offer a free initial consultation. This way, you’re able to ask about your case before you decide whether or not to commit to a lawyer.

If you are in a situation where you would like some legal advice regarding copyright, start by finding a lawyer that practices copyright law. Word of mouth or a simple internet search can both be great ways to find a local practice.

Copyright In The Age Of Content Creation

In this day and age of digital content creation, it’s particularly important to be aware of copyright rules. You don’t want to accidentally tread over the line into copy infringement.


As we mentioned earlier, music is one of the things that often falls under the umbrella of copyright protection. That’s why you want to double-check that any content you make follows the appropriate copyright rules. This is especially important for video content creators such as YouTubers.


Many content creation jobs now require the use of images. After all, pictures are often able to convey ideas much better than just words. It’s important that when using images, however, that you do it in the correct way. Most of the time, you can’t simply pull an image off the internet and use it in your work. Think about the photographer that originally took that picture and whether or not you’ve obtained permission to use their work. This applies to any number of things, including blogs or internet articles, social media posts, and other types of marketing material or internet content.

Public Domain

As a content creator, it’s important to know the term “public domain.” Simply put, public domain works can be used or distributed without permission. Works enter the public domain when they are no longer protected by copyright (or if they never met the requirements for copyright in the first place). You may have encountered this before with really old works like Romeo and Juliet or Pride and Prejudice.

The exact date at which a piece of work enters the public domain varies depending on a few factors. According to the U.S. Copyright Office, most works created after 1978 are under copyright protection “for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years”. This does change however if the work was published anonymously and the author is unknown.

It’s also important to understand, however, that there is a difference between an original work and works that have been modified. For example, the original Romeo and Juliet may be in the public domain, but a recently filmed movie re-interpretation of it may not be. It is now very common to encounter a modern re-interpretation of older work, so it’s important to double-check the copyright on any work that you use.

Cochran Firm Philadelphia

Established over four decades ago, the Cochran Firm Philadelphia office is proud to be an important cornerstone of our community. We offer services spanning various practice areas such as personal injury, medical malpractice, premise liability, elder abuse, and more. Whatever your concerns may be, we’d love to hear you out.

Here at the Cochran Firm Philadelphia office, we truly care about our clients. That’s why we always strive to go above and beyond for them. Not only do you get an excellent lawyer here at our office, but you also get a shoulder to lean on. We’ll talk you through your case and help guide you through the legal process.

The best part? Our firm handles cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that instead of charging piles of upfront legal fees, we’re paid out of the final settlement. So don’t hesitate to reach out. We even offer FREE consultations. Simply call or fill out our online form to book your first appointment.

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