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What are the Basic Differences Between a Trademark and Copyright? The distinction between a copyright and a trademark is often confusing to businesses, artists and musicians. And so to clarify the distinction between these two is to know the legal and functional objectives of the words. The word, name, symbol or device used in commerce that is related to the goods or services as an indication of the source of those goods or services, distinguishing them from the goods or services of others is called a trademark or service mark. You use trademark to hold off competitors in using similar marks that would confuse your market, and thereby leading your market back to you as the source, sponsor, affiliate or the endorser of the particular product or service.
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Federal registration is not a necessity where trademarks or service marks is concern, however, for a sense of ownership in the interstate commerce, it is also good to be registered with the Patent and Trademark Office called the PTO. In the United States for example, trademark rights is given if used actually in commerce or business and cannot be reserved unless the marks are certain to be used in the near future.
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As mentioned, trademarks do not need to have a federal registration in order to protect you, however, a federal registration of a trademark could prove some benefits of an investment if you will use your marks for many or significant projects. A copyright is a kind of intellectual property protection for authors or owners of works that are original to them in the areas of literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other works that could be either published or unpublished. An owner of a copyright is given the exclusive rights by the US Copyright Act to reproduce the copyrighted works, to have copyrighted works distributed, to create another work derive from the original work, to perform in public the copyrighted work, and to display the copyrighted work in public. The various works that are covered by copyrights are as follows, 2 or 3 dimensional works of arts, forms of images like pictures, photographs, graphic designs and drawings, recordings of all kinds like music, songs and sounds, written works like books, manuscripts and publications, and performance arts like plays, movies and shows. Note that a trademark will enable the consumer to relate to the original source of the goods or services through the term, design number or combination of these elements. On the other side, there is protection of an original work through the copyright, once the original work has been expressed in a fixed medium like books, painting and a music disc. Be further informed that copyrights can only protect the permanent expression of an original idea but not the idea behind the expression.