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Do You Know the Value of Your Intellectual Property?

by Hanna Brooks Olsen
freelancing

Arguably one of the most misunderstood elements of doing creative business, protection of intellectual property (IP) is, to most sole proprietors, freelancers, and small business owners, deeply unsexy – not to mention confusing. Unfortunately, that means a lot of them overlook it entirely, which can leave them open to theft, copyright infringement, or other seriously losses of value or income.

Regardless of the size of your business or the kind of business you run, if you make something – photos, works, art, music, graphic design elements, apps, large-scale light installations with multi-media elements – the bottom line is that you need to understand intellectual property and how it applies to your business.

“When we think about intellectual property, we’re always thinking that it’s for a big corporation,” explains Rachel Rogers, an intellectual property and business lawyer. “That it’s not for me as a solopreneur or as a small shop…No. That’s wrong. You are in the business of transacting in intellectual property.”

Still not quite clear whether or not IP law relates to you? According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, IP “is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the IP system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.”

Which basically means IP is there to help you create stuff and then ensure you get paid for it.

So, says Rachel, “you need to know what it is, and you need to know how to capitalize on it.”

Convinced yet?

If you’re ready to take the next step toward protecting your IP (and, as a result, your business), check out Rachel’s CreativeLive class, Protect and Profit From Your Intellectual Property.

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Hanna Brooks Olsen

Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.