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Intellectual Property, Dogecoin, and You!

There have been many posts about trademarks, patents, and copyright lately, so I think it would be helpful to share with you the basic concepts I teach to my media classes.
Please know I am not a lawyer, and this post should not be considered legal advice. There are many exceptions and gray areas which I have omitted for brevity. Also this post covers U.S. laws, and while the basic principles are similar elsewhere, there are differences I am not covering here.
Edit: Thank you everyone for posting your insight and additions below. Here are a few online resources that have the information I cited:
Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Center
U.S. Trademark laws and regulations
Trademark legal information
U.S. Patent guidance
Cryptocurrency Defense Foundation
What can be copyrighted?
Creative, artistic, and intellectual works can be copyrighted, and they must be "fixed," meaning you can't copyright an idea. Examples are music, photography, and literature. Anyone who authors a work immediately owns the copyright; registration is optional. Derivative works using licensed material also receive copyright protection for the part that is original.
How long does a copyright last?
Copyright grants the creator of a work the right to exclusive use and distribution (copying) for a limited time - the life of the author + 70 years in the US and many countries, shorter in others. A copyright owner in many cases can dedicate the work to the public domain. Then anyone can then use the work, even for commercial reasons.
What are the exceptions?
Fair use allows some copying, based on four factors including the nature of the copyrighted work, the purpose of the use, amount and significance of the portion used, and effect on the market. Fair use exceptions include some educational uses, parodies, thumbnails on websites, and news commentaries.
What does this mean for Dogecoin?
What can be trademarked?
A sign, design, or name that specifies a product or service can be registered as a trademark. They protect consumers and businesses by preventing other from using similar marks that could create confusion in the marketplace. There are 45 classifications of goods and services; a mark can be used by only one business in each category. Surprisingly, a public domain work can be used as a trademark. However, that trademark does not grant copyright, so others would still be free to use the pubic domain work for other purposes and for businesses in other categories.
How long does a trademark last?
A trademark lasts as long as it is renewed, and protected. The act of using the trademark, more than the registration, is the source of the rights. If others start using the mark, and is not challenged by the trademark owner, then trademark protection is lost.
What are the exceptions?
Trademark is based on "first use" so if another business has used the mark, they can challenge someone who tries to trademark it. Trademarks can also not be based on generic terms. The word apple could be trademarked for a computer business, but not for a fruit business.
What does this mean for Dogecoin?
What can be patented?
Inventions which are new and non obvious can be patented. Patents in the U.S. are now mostly granted based on first inventor to file, instead of first to use, bringing the law closer to other countries. There are several types of patents including utility patents and design patents. Typically, overly broad inventions or ones that are not novel can receive patents, and are left for the courts to sort out later.
How long does a patent last?
Usually 20 years.
What are the exceptions?
Prior art. A defensive publication, where an invention is described in a dated publication but not patented, can prevent a company from receiving a patent on the same invention. A Linux organization examines every new patent application and identifies the ones that could threaten their open source project. They have filed about 200 defensive publications, a process which has become easier due to the America Invents Act.
What does this mean for Dogecoin?
submitted by dkreddt to dogecoin [link] [comments]

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