If someone on MOC Shop is infringing upon
your intellectual property, you must submit a Notice
Regarding Claims of IP Infringement as per the MOC
Shop Terms of Service in order for BrickLink to take
appropriate actions regarding the matter.
contains basic information on questions designers may have about
copyright and intellectual property:
of an intellectual property, copyright, and
Intellectual property is the term used
to refer to commercially valuable creations of the mind.
Intellectual property is protected either by copyrights,
trademarks, or patents. A copyright may protect creative
expression such as a book or a design of a product. A trademark
may protect a word, logo, symbol, or design that identifies the
creator of a product. A patent may protect new technological
inventions or discoveries.
Rights of a
Generally, the owner of a US
copyright has the exclusive right to and to authorize others
- Reproduce the work;
“derivative” works based on the work;
copies of the work;
- Display the work publicly, in
the case of visual works.
Protection of a Copyright
Copyright protects the way things are expressed such as any
pictorial, graphic, or sculptural authorship. Copyright, however,
does not protect ideas, facts, systems, titles, names, familiar
symbols or designs, or mere listings of parts or contents. Ideas
are generally free to copy and the line between an idea
(unprotectable via copyright) and expression (protectable via
copyright) may be difficult to draw. U.S. copyright protection
does not preclude another author from creating independently
authored yet identical works. Designers may be inspired by other
creations and the world around them. U.S. copyright does not
protect works that are too old, and therefore have fallen into the
Gaining a Copyright
In the United States, copyright protection automatically exists
from the moment the work is created. However, it is suggested to
register your work with the U.S. copyright office, preferably
within three months of publication (posting an image on the
Internet may constitute publication). Electronic U.S. copyright
registration currently costs $35 (fees are subject to change),
consists of one form and requires zero lawyers. The current forms
are found for free on the U.S. Copyright website,www.copyright.gov.
Registering Your Copyright
Registering your work will come in handy in any case of court
actions. In other words, if you register for copyright before your
work has been on the Internet for three months and someone
infringes, it may be easier to prove that you’ve been harmed. If
you register within the three-month window, you may be entitled to
statutory damages and attorney fees.
You might not be the owner of your
copyright. If you prepare a work made for hire, your employer
might be the author of the work. Also, if you prepare a custom
commissioned work for certain uses and you expressly agree in a
signed written document, the work may be considered a work made
for hire. In such cases, your employer or the person who
commissioned the work might be entitled to the copyright rights.
The authors of a joint work are co-owners of the copyright in the
work unless there is an agreement to the contrary.
Marking Your Copyright
notice is meant to inform others of copyright ownership. You may
place a copyright notice at the bottom of your item description or
photo even if your work is not registered with the U.S. copyright
office. In the United States, it is not necessary to mark your
piece as being copyrighted, although it is suggested. However,
just because a work does not have a copyright marking or copyright
notice does not necessarily mean it is free to use without
obtaining prior permission. A copyright notice generally consists
of the word “copyright” or the symbol “©” and the name of the
copyright owner, and the year of first publication. For example,
©2014 Brick D. Link.
Allowing Others to
The owner of a copyright has the exclusive
right to reproduce, distribute, perform, publicly display and make
a derivative work. The copyright owner may enter into an agreement
with another individual and grant this person one or more of these
rights. It’s up to the two parties to agree upon the details, for
example, what rights to grant, what timeline is appropriate, and
what, if any, fees to charge.
When you sell or give away a
copyrighted item, unless you have a contract specifying a transfer
of one or more of your copyright rights, you are only selling the
physical item, not any of your rights. However, according to the
first sale doctrine, the buyer of a lawfully made item may re-sell
that item or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy
without the express permission of the copyright holder.
If you see
infringement of your copyrights or other intellectual property
rights on BrickLink, you may contact the other person to try to
work it out between the two of you first. If that does not work,
you may provide BrickLink with the information specified in
BrickLink's policy for submitting a Notice
Regarding Claims of IP Infringement. However, BrickLink
cannot provide you with legal advice or legal representation.
Please speak with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction for
The information above relates to the law of
the United States. However, the United States has copyright
relations with most, but not all, countries throughout the world,
and as a result of these agreements, the U.S. honors certain other
copyrights. For a listing of countries and the nature of their
copyright relations with the United States, visit www.copyright.gov and
see Circular 38a, International Copyright Relations of the United
Need to know more?
more information, visit www.copyright.gov and www.uspto.gov.
You can also search for or post a Question in the Help Center, or
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.