You work hard to create original content for your audience. Whether it’s a blog post, online course, image, or product, you have many tools you can deploy to protect your work. The laws are designed to encourage creatives and innovators to, well, create and innovate.
What tools can you use to protect your content?
It’s important to know the tools you have so that you can use them appropriately for your business. Here they are: copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets, and contracts.
Most written and visual content can utilize copyright protection.
First, stake your claim to your copyright (no registration needed), just use the correct statement on all of your work to show that you are claiming the work as the sole owner and originator. Use this article as an example…we treat this as a work of copyright and we show the world that we believe we own it with the proper copyright formula at the bottom of this page:
“© 2021 Drafted Legal, LLC. All rights reserved.”
If this were a pdf, we would also put that at the bottom. What this does is follow the statutory requirement for showing we claim ownership.
Second, you can register your copyrights. If you have a book, online course, or other work that is important to be protected, I would recommend registering the copyright. This is an inexpensive process and something you can do on your own or use a lawyer. It’s not required to register your copyright for you to get protection, but you would have to register it before filing a lawsuit against someone else for stealing it. That’s why it’s worth considering for very valuable and profitable work to your business.
Even if you don’t register, always remember to include your copyright notice above.
This is all about your brand. Let’s use Nike as an example. Nike, Just Do It, the swoosh…all those tell you who made the product you are buying. That’s what trademarks protect. You have two tasks here: first, make sure you are not infringing on another’s trademarks – the last thing you want to do is accidentally build a brand that can be shut down by someone else. The second thing to do is file your own trademark. Contact a law firm like Henderson & Henderson to handle your trademark filing.
Use contracts with your clients, employees, and contractors. This can facilitate making sure you are working with good honest people in the first place but also give you the protection you need if someone does misappropriate your content (or doesn’t pay or fulfill any other term of the agreement). Contracts should be straightforward, easy to read, and consistent with each party’s expectations. They spell it out so there can be no misunderstanding as to what to expect. When that’s the case, you’ll magically have fewer problems arise.
For your website, you can also utilize terms and conditions, disclaimers, and privacy policies to set the stage of protecting your content and your business.
Get all the contracts and tips you need for your business here:
This will not apply to most businesses but you should be aware in case it applies to yours. Think coca-cola recipe. This is when you have a secret sauce or something you want to keep secret from your competitors. This isn’t a filing or registration. This is all about protecting whatever your secret is. How do you do that? You have to actively protect it. That means only reveal this information to who must know that information. You should also actively protect this information by using nondisclosure agreements.
There are no fail-safe ways to prevent those nasty internet dwellers that might steal your content or business, but you can do a lot to make sure that you have recourse in the event that they do try to steal it. Use the contracts on this website or contact the attorneys at Henderson & Henderson to develop a customized plan.