design: impulsant
Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Copy or Copyright?

Brain Hoolahan of posted a valid question on our Ideamaker forum at OpenBC: who's idea is it anyway? Hey that's a great idea! And now it's mine, bye! You automatically got copyright on all y'r broodings, but how to make it stick?
A couple of my tips:
A: Time stamp your idea (in Holland send it to the tax office) or use file-reg. All they do is time-stamp the idea. With an official time stamp you can claim that you were the first. Sticks in Court and it's dirt cheap.
B: What also works for me sometimes, is to publicly post it on sites like this, which has a creative commons license. Or send a press release around and post it on a online pressrelease site like (Same time-stamp effect).
C:Try to bring your idea a.s.a.p. to another level: a demo, mockup, model, logo, whatever.
D:These evolved forms of your idea you CAN officially deposit, get patented or trademarked.
E: Use a reasonable! NDA for parties to whom you want to present or discuss your idea (and you don't trust completely).
G: If all of the above is not suitable for you or your idea.. hey... just keep your mouth shut and work on it alone. Chances are however, your idea will never see the daylight, let alone be born into a business or product all by yourself. You will need help from other people in some form or another at some point in time to get your idea further developed or realised and that means talking about it.

It's a thin line between copy and copyright in bringing a idea further with other people involved, and every situation is different. Use your instincts, gut feeling, reason and intelligence and ask around beforehand, on "how to tackle issues" from experienced ideamakers, maybe inquire about or get references from the company/people involved, and get some good legal help at some stage.

A lot of it still depends on good ol' trust, give and take, sharing, a word a word and your own common sense. Remember there's no failsafe way to do things, no contract 100% solid, so be prepared to take some risks in some form or another along the way. Good luck!


  • In holland you can simply time-stamp your own ideas. You go to the postoffice and you send it to yourself.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:02 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home