During a business advice session yesterday I was reminded how few entrepreneurs are aware of copyright law. Most do know a bit about patents, trademarks and designs, but when it comes to copyright they flounder.
Fortunately we have produced a very simple PDF guide (What is copyright?) with much more detailed information available from the UK Intellectual Property Office. The key points are that copyright protection is free and automatic (you don’t even need to use a copyright symbol). The point that most surprises people is that copyright for authors now extends to life plus 70 years.
However rather than hope the owners of the intellectual property won’t find out you have taken their property and come after you through the courts, a much better approach is to contact them and see if you can licence their content. Fortunately thanks to the WATCH file, tracking down these copyright holders is relatively straightforward.
For example a search for Roald Dahl author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (amongst many other children’s favourites) gives the following results;
Roald Dahl 1916-1990 – 3 contacts found in the WATCH File
David Higham Associates are the principal representatives. Some copyrights (mostly for poems by Dahl) are administered by Random House Children’s Books; and film and television rights are handled by Casarotto Ramsay.
Copyright Permissions Casarotto Ramsay Limited VIEW
The Estate of Roald Dahl David Higham Associates Limited VIEW
Children’s Permissions Department Random House Children’s Books VIEW
WATCH is a database of copyright contacts for writers, artists, and prominent people in other creative fields. It is a joint project of the Harry Ransom Center and University of Reading Library in England. Founded in 1994 as a resource principally for copyright questions about literary manuscripts held in the U.S. and the U.K., it has now grown into one of the largest databases of copyright holders in the world.
The September issue of Real Business magazine has two mentions of the Business & IP Centre which are so flattering I can’t resist sharing them here.
In an article titled Saving Britain’s future, Charles Orton-Jones produces a 10-point manifesto to rescue Britain’s economy. At number three on the list is Open Business & IP Centres in six cities. To quote the initial text,
‘In 2006, the British Library opened the Business & IP Centre. The centre fuses the British Library’s vast repository of databases and commercial documents with a plethora of services for entrepreneurs – a sort of Pimp my Business Link.’
A few pages later on, in the article 27 champions of entrepreneurial Britain, Catherine Woods puts the British Library in at number 15 – behind Peter Jones, but ahead of Alan Sugar and Richard Branson.
It could just be coincidence, or an example of great minds thinking alike, but the September issue of Real Business magazine has a survey of 372 UK entrepreneurs which reinforces my last blog post Perserverance and the achievement of goals.
As well as showing that adversity is often a motivator for setting up business (69 per cent of respondents), nearly 60 per cent voted voted determination as the most important characteristic in running your own business.
The full article is on the Real Business website.
I don’t usually get too philosophical on this blog because I know most people are looking for practical solutions to problems.
However, on my recent holiday up in the beautiful Langdale Valley in the Lake District, and then on to the Highlands of Scotland, I managed to achieve something I first attempted 25 years ago.
Although climbing Ben Nevis does not compare to the serious mountains of Europe and the Americas, it does feel good to have finally conquered the highest mountain in Britain. Especially as my two previous attempts had to be abandoned due to bad weather, leading to dangerous conditions on top.
It made me think about how much perseverance entrepreneurs need in order to succeed in business. They will need to overcome a great many obstacles and challenges on the way if they are to succeed in the long term.
To quote Roy Castle from his Record Breakers days, “what you need is dedication”.