Creative Millennials: Do You Know Your Rights?

Much has been said about the millennial generation. Among other things, we’ve been called lazy, stupid, and “the worst” — and those are just Google’s autofill suggestions for “Millennials are.”

But millennials are far from lazy, stupid, or “the worst.” On the contrary, millennials are responsible for some of the most innovative platforms for ingenuity and connectivity of our time: you may have heard of Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and AirBnB for example. A report issued by the White House noted that millennials are “more likely than previous generations” to value creativity in the workplace as a high priority. A recent study released by Initiative — a global communications agency — called this generation of teens, twenty- and thirty-somethings “the most creative generation yet, defined by its adaptability and resilience.” Now, that’s more like it.

With all of the creative capital millennials have to offer, it is important that young “millentreprenuers” and “millenniartists” understand how intellectual property, and copyright in particular, can work in their favor.

It’s no secret that our generation loves the internet — which is fitting since the World Wide Web, born March 12, 1989, is also a millennial — so navigating our new website should be a breeze. Navigating copyright law, on the other hand, is much less intuitive, but our new site and this blog post are here to help.

I’m not a lawyer and copyright law is complex. Where do I even begin?

The law can be complicated and confusing, and frankly, it’s our hope that creators can spend more time creating and less time analyzing statutes and legislation. Copyright Law Explained is a great resource for young creators who want a basic understanding of the ins and outs of copyright law. Need to know if you can register a cool new idea? Confused about the differences between copyright, patent, and trademark? Want to understand how licensing works? Copyright Law Explained is the place to begin. To find answers to specific questions you may have, our FAQs also address a number of topics, from owner’s rights, to everyone’s favorite: “fair use.”

I heard copyright protection is automatic. Do I still need to register?

It is true that copyright protection is automatic, meaning that you do not need to register, but there are several advantages that registering your work provides, including the ability to sue for infringement. Visit Copyright Law Explained for a breakdown of the registration process, the benefits of registration, and what is required to complete the process. We have also compiled a list of FAQs which address registration, and other topics, in more detail.

I think someone may be using my work without my permission. Is there someone who can help?

Here you’ll find a list of copyright attorneys who may be able to assist you. We’ve also put together our Creator Assistance Directory — comprised of legal clinics and other organizations across the U.S. — to provide creators like yourself with legal resources in your area. Many of the organizations listed provide pro bono legal representation or counseling to clients on matters related to copyright and entrepreneurship. The directory is organized by state, so feel free to reach out to the organizations in your area for assistance.

I like to make remixes and mashups. How can I locate a copyright owner to get permission to use content?

Another exciting feature of our new website allows creators to search for the copyright owner of a given piece of work. As millennials, we spend a lot of time with our good friend the internet, where we come across cool photographs, graphics, songs, etc. It’s important that we respect other creators’ work. If you’re a creator who would like to incorporate someone else’s content into your work, let us help you get permission so that down the line you don’t face a lawsuit.

Finally, as an individual creator, you can join the Copyright Alliance for free. Again, it’s our hope that creators can spend more time creating and less time struggling with the ins and outs of copyright law. We want to help make that happen, so we’ll soon be providing individual creators with services including:

· Copyright registration services;

· Sending DMCA takedown notices; and

· Access to videos, courses, and other easy to understand materials on copyright

Millennials have made amazing creative contributions to the world, and it’s exciting to imagine what more the “most creative generation yet” has in store. So the next time you hear someone say that millennials are lazy, stupid, or “the worst,” just remember: the greatest artists are often the most misunderstood.

photo credit: Rawpixel/iStock/thinkstock & Rawpixel/istock/thinkstock

Second Photo Edited by: Copyright Alliance

get blog updates