Blogging Business 101: Protect Yourself

Do you use protection?

That’s not quiiiite the topic today…

Kat and I went to dinner a couple of weeks ago and she started asking me questions about blogging, and if I had taken steps to protect my name and my content.  I stared at her blankly.  I had NO idea I should be doing a few simple things to make sure there’s not a zombie attack on my blog!

I know a lot of you are bloggers, so I asked Kat to focus a guest post on the topic.  I hope this is as enlightening for you as it was for me!

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Blogging Business 101: 

Protecting Your Name and Your Content – Why would a blogger need to talk to a lawyer? 

By: Kat Stay on your Path

 

You invest so much time and energy into your blog that it’s practically a business or a second job (Editor’s note: and third… and fourth…).  Perhaps it is your business or related to your business.  If you don’t protect your name and content, you can lose your investment and be forced to change or abandon your creative works.  Why not invest a little more to ensure you and your blog are protected?

Today I’m sharing a couple of things you need to know.

tree hugger

If you love your creative expression, it’s up to you to protect it.

 

Trademarks – 101

Surprise!  You can trademark your blog’s name and logo!  Why would you want to do this?  There are several reasons.  You are providing an educational service to others through your blog, and you have invested a TON of time in marketing, advertising, connecting with other bloggers that will support you, and creating content to share on your blog.

Now imagine that someone else out there decides they really like the name of your blog or your logo, and they decide to federally register the name and/or logo as trademark.  (Perhaps they came up with it on their own, or perhaps they copied it from you.)  They would then own all the rights to that name and/or logo, and could potentially serve you a cease and desist letter telling you that you can no longer use the name in your blog, and you need to take down all the content using the name or logo, rebrand, perhaps even costing you more time and money.

This situation happens frequently, and it is disheartening for those who have invested time, perhaps even years, in creating content for their blog using their name and logo.  Your blog is your brand.

 

Federally registering your blog name and logo as a trademark will give you a legal remedy if someone tries to copy or misuse your blog name.  Not all blog names can be trademarked; they have to be distinct and non-generic.  In order to determine whether your blog name may be trademarked, it is a good idea to consult an attorney and invest in legal research.  Contact me if you would like more information about whether your blog name is protectable.

 

You may also go to Counsel to Creativity for a free trademark crash course, available on the homepage.  If you would like a free 30 minute consultation with me for more information about whether your blog name and/or logo are protectable, contact me (kat at counseltocreativity dot com), or use the coupon code “KAT30” in the contact form on the website.

c2c

 

Copyright – 101

While many bloggers may not realize it, every time you post original content to your blog, whether it’s a post with a story, a method, or a recipe, you are creating legally protectable content.  For many of you, this will primarily come up with respect to your recipes and photos.  How many times have you posted a recipe or a picture that was reposted by someone else(Editor’s note: Wayyyyy to often, no?) hardly modified at all, and they took credit for it?  This could be copyright infringement.

If you are the author of your picture, recipe, or other content, you have the right to protect it against someone else’s infringing use, if their use is substantially similar.  Becoming angry, or commenting on their blog demanding they take down your content is frustrating and often fruitless.

 

So, what do you do?  In many cases, an infringer will take down their infringing content upon a demand letter from an attorney, but there are other ways to handle the situation as well.  If you want legal advice about what you can protect, why it is protectable, or why you should protect it, email me (kat at counseltocreativity dot com).

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You don’t want to have to P.U.S.H. – pray you are protected until something happens that unhinges your investment.

If you get legal advice and protection before a dispute pops up, you can maintain significantly more control over your protectable content.

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 I’m still shocked this happens – I’d only thought about the risk of letting your domain name lapse!

What was your biggest take-away about protecting your creative content?

What intellectual property from your blog is most important to you?  Your name?  Logo?  Recipes?  Photos?

 

Comments

  1. says

    Definitely an interesting idea. I don’t think I am at the stage where my blog is popular enough to look into doing this but I can definitely understand some of the more popular blogs wanting to do this to protect their brand for sure.

    Such an interesting and insightful post!

    • Kat says

      Thanks! And I understand where you are coming from. It’s definitely more important in the early stages of a business, but it applies to blogs, too!

  2. says

    Eek – this is something I get concerned about when I’m working my design/illustration biz, less so with blogging (so far!) but definitely something I want to start looking into. I also find it a pretty confusing matter so massively appreciate the advice from Kat!

    • Kat says

      Hey Cat, it certainly should be a concern with your design/illustration business! Let me know if I can help you any further!

  3. says

    Such a great post thank you! I will definitely need to look into this. A photo from my old blog once was redone (they put my face on a supersexy body – so mean, haha) and called me Nina, 21 – for a dating website! AaaaH! :-)

  4. says

    Interesting. My photos are probably the most important to me. You know, cause I have like 2 recipes on my blog after 5 years of blogging!

    • Kat says

      Photos are easier to protect than recipes, anyway! Let me know if you ever want to chat about what you can do to protect your content! ;)

    • Kat says

      Well, one way or another… if it’s a long-term investment for you, it’s worth it to protect yourself as soon as possible. Rebranding sucks… time and energy and resources. Let me know if I can help you in anyway! This wasn’t to scare you, just to help make you aware.

    • Laura says

      Heather, I am kind of surprised you haven’t done this yet with your fancy pics and the scrumptious pancakes that get so much exposure.

  5. says

    Dammit I know this is something I need to do. Guess I’ll put it on the blog stuff list so don’t be surprised if I shoot you an email one day. Granola is a perfectly acceptable form of payment right?! What’s that? You have law school to pay for? Rats.

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