Safeguarding Intellectual Property: Exploring Effective Protection Strategies

Updated on : Feb. 15, 2023 - 4 p.m. 17 min read.

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What are the intellectual property rights of artists?

Intellectual property rights are crucial for artists to protect their creations. These rights include trademarks, patents, designs, copyrights and geographical indications. For most artists copyright is the most important type of intellectual property right as it governs the rights to their art. However for some artists such as fashion or jewelry designers a combination of intellectual property rights may apply. It is important for artists to understand the scope of copyright and other intellectual property rights to protect their creations. They should also take necessary actions if their intellectual property is stolen.

Why Do Artists Need to Protect their Intellectual Property?

Artists need to protect their intellectual property for several reasons, including:

  1. Economic benefits: By protecting their intellectual property rights, artists can prevent others from profiting from their work without permission or compensation. This allows them to control the distribution and sale of their work and to earn income from it.
  2. Reputation and credibility: Protecting their intellectual property rights can also help artists establish their reputation and credibility as creators of original works. This can lead to more opportunities for exhibitions, commissions and other professional opportunities.
  3. Preservation of creative legacy: By protecting their intellectual property rights, artists can ensure that their work is preserved and passed on to future generations. This can help to ensure that their contributions to the cultural and artistic community are recognized and respected.
  4. Legal remedies: Artists can take legal action against those who infringe upon their intellectual property rights it also helps to stop the infringement and award damages.
  5. Marketing: Trademarks and copyrights can be used as a form of marketing, to promote and sell the artist's work.


In India, the protection of intellectual property created by artists is governed by various laws and regulations under the purview of the Intellectual Property Office of India (IPO). These laws include the Copyright Act of 1957, the Trade Marks Act of 1999, the Patents Act of 1970, the Designs Act 2000 and the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999.

Under the Copyright Act 1957, literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, cinematographic films, sound recordings, and computer software are protected. This means that artists have the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, and perform their work in public.

The Trade Marks Act 1999, grants protection to marks, logos, and names used in connection with goods and services. This protection is granted through registration with the Trademark Office.

The Patents Act, 1970, grants protection to new and useful inventions, including artistic works, such as jewelry designs and fashion.

The Designs Act, 2000 grants protection to the aesthetic features of a product, and the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, protects the location of origin of goods, which may include certain traditional and artistic goods.

In general, these laws provide artists with the legal means to prevent others from using or reproducing their creations without their permission. Artists can also take legal action if their intellectual property rights are infringed upon.

Difference between Copyright and Design rights?

Copyright and design rights are two separate forms of intellectual property protection that pertain to different aspects of creative works.

Copyright is a legal right that protects the expression of an idea, such as literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, software, and films. Copyright gives the owner the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, and publicly display their work. It also gives the owner the right to create derivative works, and in the case of software, to sell or license the software.

Design rights, on the other hand, protect the visual appearance of a product, including its shape, configuration, pattern, and ornamentation. Design rights protect the appearance of a product, which must be original and not commonplace. It gives the owner the right to prevent others from making, importing, selling, or using a product that copies the protected design.

In simple terms, copyright protects creative work like a novel, a song, a movie, software, etc. Design rights protect the physical shape and appearance of a product, like the shape of a car, a chair, jewelry, etc.


If an artist believes that their intellectual property has been stolen, they should take the following steps:

  1. Gather evidence: Collect any evidence of the infringement, such as screenshots, URLs, or physical copies of the stolen work. It's also important to document any communication with the infringer, such as emails or letters.
  2. Notify the infringer: Send a cease-and-desist letter to the infringer, asking them to stop using the stolen work and to remove it from any websites or other platforms where it has been published.
  3. Consider legal action: If the infringer does not comply with the cease-and-desist letter, the artist may need to consider taking legal action. This may include filing a lawsuit for copyright or trademark infringement or seeking an injunction to prevent the infringer from continuing to use the stolen work.
  4. Contact the appropriate platform: If the stolen work is appearing on a website or other online platform, the artist should contact the platform and inform them of the infringement. They should also provide the platform with any evidence of the infringement and ask them to take down the stolen work.
  5. Contact professional organizations: If the artist is a member of a professional organization, they should contact that organization for assistance and guidance. Many professional organizations, such as the Graphic Artists Guild, offer resources and support for artists dealing with intellectual property theft.
  6. Educate oneself: Artists should also educate themselves about their rights and the laws surrounding intellectual property. This can help them to understand their options and to make informed decisions about how to protect their work.