Lawpath Blog
How Do Intellectual Property Laws Apply to Online Content?

How Do Intellectual Property Laws Apply to Online Content?

Intellectual property laws protect the rights and creations of individuals. Keep reading to find out how this applies to online content.

12th July 2019

Intellectual property refers to creations from the mind that can be legally owned. They are intangible assets. All businesses will have some form of intellectual property (IP) they wish to protect. Therefore, intellectual property laws protect a business’ new creations and ideas. Your ideas and creations are important for the long-term prosperity of your business. Hence, it is important to know how to protect your intangible work. The best way to do this is by registering your IP. You can do this by applying for a trademark or a patent. These will stop your competitors from using your ideas and will give you a competitive advantage in the market. On the other hand, you are dealing with copyright laws when you are dealing with internet content.

What is internet content?

Internet content refers to anything that has been published on the internet. This includes articles, websites, music and more. A company called Interparty has argued that “users of the internet have been conditioned to believe that everything is free”. This is because this content is so easily available to internet users. There are numerous sites that make it easy to download music and movies for free. Moreover, people use information from online articles without referencing them. These are all breaches of people’s intellectual property rights. Although internet content is free, this does not mean that these creations cannot be protected. Illegal downloads are a huge breach of copyright laws.

Types of IP laws

Copyright laws

Copyright laws protect the expression of ideas in writing, music, images, videos and programs. You do not have to register for a copyright. However, the work must meet certain minimum requirements. If they do, they will receive a federal copyright protection. This will determine how long it is protected by the copyright based on when it was created. They provide the exclusive rights to use, copy, license and change their work.


A trademark can be used to distinguish between two business’ goods and services. It usually protects the brand name of a company. This can include the name itself, the logo, font, design, smell, sound and more. A registered trademark is legally enforceable. It gives you rights to exclusively use, license or sell your trademark.

Patent protection

Many larger businesses may experience third parties trying to make and sell their products. It is important to protect your company’s creations. This is common in the beauty industry where third parties try to recreate famous brands such as Kylie cosmetics. Patent protections are effective in outlining manufacturing agreements between companies. Some businesses may have permission to sell products from larger companies. However, this needs to be clearly written and agreed on.

Don’t Forget!

Intellectual property laws protect online content. This content relates to any creations from the mind. All businesses have some form of IP that need to be protected. It is important to ensure that all the intangible assets of a company is protected by IP laws. You should register for a trademark if you wish to protect your brand or logos. A copyright will ensure your ideas are policed by federal copyright laws. Moreover, a patent prevents third parties from recreating your ideas and making them their own. Contact a trademark lawyer or a patent lawyer to find out more.

Don’t know where to start?
Contact a Lawpath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest legal marketplace.

Aditi Ramesh

Aditi currently works in the Content Team as a Legal Intern for Lawpath. She is in her third year of a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) at Macquarie University. She is particularly interested in Property and Criminal Law.