Creative Barcodes

An excellent new service to help creative individuals and businesses to protect and commercialise their intellectual property has been launched by Creative Barcode.

Copyright exists as soon as the creator expresses an idea in tangible form – as a piece of writing, music, design, software etc. Registration is not required (in the UK) for intellectual property rights in the work to exist. The legal position is simple and clear. The problem, however, can be proving that you created the work, and when it was created, in the event of a legal dispute over its ownership and the moral, artistic and commercial rights associated with the work. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep dated records, including sketches, drafts etc so that you have evidence of creation and ownership. The © copyright symbol, name of owner, and date are useful to indicate that the work is subject to copyright , its owner and the date of creation. For example “Copyright © David Parrish. 2010.”

A Creative Barcode builds on this information and provides more detailed and robust evidence for the creator: detail of ownership, date of creation and limitations on use. The barcode includes uniquely numbered digital codes on creative works to specify ownership and permitted usage. The barcode can be used on designs, written proposals, sketches, drafts and other copyright works associated with a project.

For example, have a look at the Creative Barcode I’ve attached to this copyright article at the bottom of this page. (Click to enlarge.)

Creative barcodes make the copyright position even more clear to recipients of creative works than a simple copyright notice (though there’s no harm adding that too). Furthermore their use is an indication that you know your rights and are organised. This in itself should help deter unlawful usage of your copyright works.

An additional very useful facility offered by the Creative Barcode service is the ability to forward your copyright works to external parties via the Creative Barcode file transfer area, which adds a password unique to the recipient so that they can download it after receiving your email. In this way, the Creative Barcode system can track receipt of files and register the recipient’s agreement to the conditions of usage associated with the work.

Finally, the Creative Barcode app includes a ‘transfer of ownership’ feature which enables the creator to provide the purchaser with a certificate of ownership when full payment has been made.

Registration costs £30 GBP plus VAT per annum, which includes five free barcodes and a downloadable program to generate them. Additonal barcodes cost £4 GBP each. Annual membership also includes the usage of 200MB of server space to store documents for registered download by clients.

Full information is available on the Creative Barcode website.

The Creative Barcode initiative is supported by BDI, ACID, the Chartered Society of Designers, ISTD, Hidden Art, and the London Design Festival.

Share your opinions and experience of Creative Barcodes, Copyright and other Intellectual Property issues on the Creative Enterprise Network.


Article Copyright © David Parrish and T-Shirts and Suits Ltd. 2010.

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