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!
Blogging Business 101:
Protecting Your Name and Your Content – Why would a blogger need to talk to a lawyer?
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.
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.
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).
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.
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?