Alright, so you’re a blogger. Or you plan to start your own blog. Or perhaps you’re a company looking into establishing your online presence? Whatever the case may be, one thing’s for sure — you work hard on creating original content.
Unfortunately, all your hard work can disappear in the abyss of plagiarism lawsuits.
That photo you took from Google thinking it was okay to upload on your blog? Someone probably already copyrighted that. How about a photoshoot you spent hours on, only to find out that someone has snatched it to use on their own blog?
Simply put, you’re left unprotected on both sides, and that’s not good for your brand. But don’t worry. Below are some guide in navigating the world of intellectual property, trademark, and copyright.
This is anything that you have ownership to; it could be ideas, your words, your creative process, your drawings, anything that’s on your blog that you came up with. That’s yours by all standards.
It’s important to establish that you own your work or else you’re vulnerable to people preying on bloggers such as yourself. You don’t want someone grabbing something from your blog and use it for their website. Some people may even make money off of it while you are paid dust for your own content.
Here are two ways to protect your IP:
1. Search the Internet for your content – Make use of social monitoring tools such as Google Alerts to warn you if your content is being searched for and where it is being searched on.
2. Create a policy – Your content can easily be taken, saved, and shared in just a click of a button. Having a policy in place makes it easy for people to know how they can use your content online and even offline.
Trademark can be categorized as words, names, and symbols protected under the law. You may be thinking if you should even bother getting a trademark for your blog. The simple answer is yes.
You may be aware of this two little symbols right here: ™ and ®. These two symbols actually both fall under the trademark law. They’re essentially the same thing but there’s a huge difference under legal settings.
The ™ symbol – This symbol can be used freely. You don’t need to register anything to use this. So go ahead and add it to your branding or your blog title. For the most part, it’s harmless. It’s just a way to tell people that something is yours. A blatant show of ownership.
The ® symbol – Someone using this symbol went through the formal process of registering their trademarks with the government. The difference now is with a registered trademark, you have more options to protect yourself in the case of a legal battle. However, you should know that improper use of the registered trademark can also have serious consequences.
Copyrights are part of a legal system that aims to protect any literary or creative work, published or unpublished. Here are some examples of things you can copyright:
- Elements on your websites such as pictures, audio, literary work, and video
- Computer programs
- Musical and verbal content including lyrics
- Artwork and any pictorial work
- Anything that is in tangible form
The thing with copyrights is that by publishing your work and sending it out for your audience to see, you’re automatically protected. US copyright laws make it so that you don’t have to register for copyright to lay ownership on your ideas and your content.
You have to keep in mind, though, that while you don’t need to register for copyright officially, you should still do it. Sure, you’re protected under copyright laws, but can you fight using these same laws? Short answer, no. Long answer, still no. But only because you can’t sue anyone for copyright infringement if you haven’t registered any of your work.
Remember, trademark and copyright laws are in place to protect you. Think of it as your weapons against the crazy world the Internet may throw you in. So save yourself a future headache and register your intellectual property today.