Legal – Copyright and Trademark

The information on this page is provided as a resource only and should not be construed as legal advice.  The specific facts in every situation are different, so while easy access to these resources should provide some initial guidance towards understanding the concepts of copyright and trademark, this information should not be relied on completely. Laws change constantly, and although Triangle ArtWorks will try to keep these resources up to date, we can not guarantee it.  So, do not act or fail to act based solely on information provivded below … please consult an attorney for a complete understanding of how the copyright and trademark laws apply to you and your work in North Carolina.



Basic Copyright Information: 

The United States Copyright Office website is really the best resource to help you better understand copyright.  From the basics of copyright to a comprehensive and straight-forward “frequently asked questions” section, for us, this website contained the most comprehensive and up-to-date information about copyright, in an easy to read format.  So, it is the best place to start.

The Copyright Office explains how to register a copyright for:

Fair Use Index – They Copyright office also offers a very helpful searchable database of Fair Use cases.

Other helpful copyright resources:

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a great online training course on patents, copyright and trademarks. It is a long course, but you can watch at your own pace.

Tunecore produced this short video clip explaining the basics of copyright, as applied to music.

Creative CommonsCreative Commons advocates for less restrictive licenses than traditionally provided by copyright law.   They provide standard licenses that allow for some, but not necessarily all rights to be reserved.  Here is their FAQ section.

Performing Rights Societies:  These companies, in the simplest terms, collect fees on the behalf of copyright owners. ASCAPBMI, and  SESAC  are some of the larger organizations that collect fees for songwriters, composers, and music publishers for public performance of their works.

SoundExchange collects fees for digital performance (satellite radio, internet radio, streaming) for owners of the sound recording.

The AdMedia website has an articled titled aWhat is a Copyright, Patent and Trademark as relevant to advertising, but it is worth a look as it contains a great list of links to good information and articles these three issues.

Public Art and Copyright – The AFTA Public Art Network suggests “best practices” for copyright issues for public art projects.


An Essential Guide to Trademark Protection – by Eric P. Stevens, Poyner Spruill, LLP – This book written by a member of local firm, Poyner Spruill’s Entertainment Law Section, is a great guide on the basics of Trademark Law.


Do you have information regarding copyright that would be of interest to the Triangle’s arts community? Send us an emailAre you a lawyer? Triangle ArtWorks has a Lawyer’s Task Force that is exploring ways ArtWorks can further assist the Triangle’s creative community with legal issues and education.  Among other things, we will be working on keeping these legal resources up to date and educational programs and workshops.  If you are a lawyer and are interested in getting involved, email us!