University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Protecting

Copyright

Copyright, as defined by the US Copyright Office, is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works. Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

The Technology Transfer Office can assist you with your copyright needs by:
 

  • Providing general information and advice
  • Assisting with copyright registration, including serial registrations for evolving works
  • Providing information on proper copyright notices, use of ©
  • Obtaining permission to include third-party photos, diagrams, etc. in authored works (frequently many such permissions are needed)
  • Assisting with finding publishers, distributors, galleries, supply houses, including contacting such parties and seeking their interest
  • Providing business advice on publishing agreements, distribution agreements, joint development agreements, editing agreements, gallery agreements, speaker’s agreements, and other contracts with outside entities for services, distribution, performance or display
  • Providing information about organizations that collect and distribute royalties including the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), and SoundExchange
  • Explaining ways infringement can be dealt with
  • Referrals and collaboration with the library’s copyright attorney, the UMass trademark licensing director, and/or outside counsel

Trademarks

A trademark, as defined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), is a brand name.  A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.  Although federal registration of a mark is not mandatory, it has several advantages, including notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark, legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration.

A trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs through identification of the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from others.

We can assist you with your trademark needs by:
 

  • Providing advice on selecting strong trademarks (including information about the various types; descriptive, suggestive, arbitrary, and fanciful)
  • Helping decide if multiple or sequential marks are needed
  • Providing information about the protection of trademarks under state law and under federal law and the proper use of TM, SM and ®
  • Searching the U.S. Patent and Trademark database and other sources to help you determine if desired marks are available, in use, or may cause “likelihood of confusion”
  • Providing information on how to file your own trademark registration, or referral to local lawyers who can file it for you
  • Helping to understand “cease and desist” letters, and the ways creators and businesses deal with them