There are three types of legally protected materials that could be important to you, and it's important to know the difference: patents, trademarks, and copyrights. A patent protects an invention, think of things like tools, vehicles, supplies, etc. A trademark protects brand names and logos that appear on goods and services. Finally, a copyright protects original and artistic works - this is probably where a small business will need to be cautious.
Protecting Your Print Materials
There are two things to keep in mind when thinking about protecting your print materials - protecting them from being stolen, and protecting you from accidentally stealing. In the first situation, if you've created a logo, taken photos, or written anything special for your print piece and you don't want anyone to reuse it without your permission, you'll need to have it copywritten. There are some laws that can protect you even if you don't pay the copyright fee - but if you want to ultimately be protected, it's easier to go through the proper channels.
In the second instance, you need to protect yourself from being called into court because you used something that was copywritten. The most common ways you'll probably infringe copyright is through photos, logos, and even fonts. Did you realize that many items on the web are copywritten and not available for use?
From graphics that you grabbed from Google for your poster to the cool font that matched the theme of your event - when you use these items for commercial use you are opening yourself up for trouble. There are some exceptions for personal use, and sometimes there are items that are in public domain, but it's always best to try and not evade the laws. If you really want to use something for commercial use, you can try to reach out to the copyright holder and get permission.
How Lake Printing Can Help
Do you want to stay safe while still getting designs that are professional? Lake Printing can help! We believe in making great impressions through your print materials, and part of making great impressions is keeping everything legal. From the fonts, photos, and graphics, we can help you achieve the look you love without being afraid that it will come back to bite you in the end. Visit our website to learn more about our graphic design, as well as all print materials!