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I have a startup and I just sent via E-Mail some sample images to a family member who owns a small marketing and design company in the US. My parents had suggested it since we are on good terms with the person and we trust him. The images I sent are close to what the final product is intended to look like. The first e-mail I received back, within a couple of minutes after I sent mine, asked something to the likes of "Do you have copyright on any of the images or the concept?"

Obviously, I do not. It's the last piece missing in the startup. This got me thinking, however. Can he, in theory, copyright what I've sent him? Even though I created it, and he indirectly implied in the e-mail that he's not the content owner, can he attribute my own intellectual property to himself? Can he replicate what my startup does, copyright it, and make it impossible for me to build my own product? I am a Canadian citizen (residing in Canada), so I'm not sure if that makes a difference.

  • Why do you think you don't have copyright? If you did not create the images, he certainly didn't. – Nij Jun 29 '17 at 19:37
  • I would imagine the law is made in such a way that if you do not pay for a patent on your design and/or idea, anyone can use it and patent it themselves, no? I'd be very glad if I was wrong about this because it gives me no reason to worry. – L_Za Jun 29 '17 at 19:50
  • You can't patent ideas and you can't patent writing. Patents are irrelevant to copyright. – Nij Jun 30 '17 at 4:20
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You automatically have a copyright in any copyritable things you create. So you own copyright over the pictures you sent him (as long as you created them)

  • When he asked me if I have copyright on the design and concept, I replied with "Obviously not. We are trying to officially fund the company". Dose this infer I am giving free access to my IP? – L_Za Jun 29 '17 at 15:29
  • @L_Za please don't ask new questions in comments: ask a new question – Dale M Jun 29 '17 at 20:45

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