Copyright Symbols

In order to show the copyright it is accustomed to use several symbols that are not quite the same.

The ™ or SM symbols are to be used for marks that are claiming the rights to the creation or for marks whose trademark applications are pending. Sometimes these symbols are governed by the state laws so it may be useful to check with the local authorities.

The symbol ® means that the trademark is Federally registered. It should be used only if you have received Federal trademark registration.

The sign © can be used with any copyrighted material, registered or not. Unlike trademarks, copyrights appear as soon as something is created, so you can use this symbol freely for anything you create that is covered by copyright (images, paintings, books, music, etc.)

A lot of work is being done and sold nowadays online. Is your website protected? Since everything is considered to have a copyright as soon as it is created, websites are protected by copyright even if you do not choose to register the copyright, and in this case you can freely use the copyright sign.

Once you produced your creation you can add the TM symbol, and it gives you a level of protection. You can put ™ on anything – it just means that you consider it to be a trademark for your creations. You can use the sign ™ quite freely.

The sign ® is used to indicate that your trademark is registered with the government. Only use the sign “Registered” if you’ve actually registered the trademark formally.

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Copyright Basics

Picture courtesy of

Many people heard about Copyright and Copyright Law but do not quite understand what it means. We will try to explain the basics of it.

U.S. copyright law evolved from English Common Law and Statutory Law.  During more than two hundred years copyright has grown up into a complex body of law. The USA Founders included copyright in the Constitution, and its rights and limits are still a part of the continuous debate.

 Copyright law is about balance. It gives creators the right to control their works along with being compensated for various uses of their works. At the same time, these rights are limited in time and scope. It was done with the purpose to give the public an opportunity to access the creative works and reuse them in new creative ways. Often the copyright is understood only as a scope of restrictions while in reality it has permissive aspects such as Fair Use Doctrine and the Public Domain.

The Fair Use doctrine means the use of the creative work not for gaining profit but rather for information and educational purposes.

The Public Domain doctrine means that the copyright works go to the public use when the copyright terms and intellectual property rights are expired, been forfeited, or are inapplicable. Examples of such works are poems by Dante, music by Mozart, paintings of old masters, and some old silent movies. “The term is not normally applied to situations when the creator of a work retains residual rights, in which case use of the work is referred to as “under license” or with permission. In informal usage, the public domain consists of works that are publicly available; while according to the formal definition it consists of works that are unavailable for private ownership or are available for public use.”  

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In order to show the copyright it is accustomed to use several symbols that are not quite the same. We are going to explain the symbols and the difference among them in our further posts.


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Business Law for Entrepreneurs

Do you want to learn more about doing business in the USA? Make sure you are well prepared and have everything you need for your business.

The lawyer and our fellow consultant, Ekaterina Mouratova, has published her legal guide to doing business in the United States.

Find this helpful resource at



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Business Training and Seminars

We have already mentioned the importance of personal networking. When attending business exhibitions try also to participate in workshops and seminars. Usually they are conducted by industry professionals.

At such seminars there is also an opportunity to learn not only from the presenter but from your colleagues and other industry professionals.

Being a part of the audience at one of the Small Business Expo workshops, BPO Group USA representatives were able to answer the audience questions about search engine optimization and why we see different search results on different computers.

Workshop "Take Your Social Media Platform to the Next Level".

Workshop “Social Media – Next Generation Marketing Strategies” during Small Business Expo, New York-2012.

So participating in such seminars and presentations you can have an extra chance, again, to learn more, share your knowledge, build connections and expand your clientele.

At BPO Group USA we offer creative workshops, business trainings and seminars designed individually for you to correspond to your company needs.

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