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Legally Protectable Parts of a Blog

woman writing down the legally protectable parts of a blog

Curious about the legally protectable parts of a blog? Read on to learn a little more about copyright protection for a blog and trademarks for bloggers.

Blog Name

This is kind of an easy one, right? It is the name by which all of your readers recognize your work, your blog, and a name. Of course, the name is a protectable part of the blog because it is a signifier. And the thing that signifies a brand to your readers — the blog name — is protectable under trademark law.

Infographics

Next, infographics. Of course, that can be anything from an explanation of a process to a cool way that you’ve set out the ingredients that go into a recipe. And infographics are graphic designs, which are artwork, which are protectable, under copyright law.

Blog Posts

The actual blog post. So what is a blog post? It is text, it is maybe video or audio visual materials, maybe some kind of free download, and maybe graphic designs, and maybe all of those things. And each and every one of those things, is a creative work and creative content that is protectable under copyright law.

Videos

A video or a vlog. Well, that’s easy, it’s like a motion picture, right? And that motion picture or audio visual work is certainly a traditional creative work protectable under copyright law.

Hashtags (not really a protectable part of a blog, but quasi-protectable)

Hashtags are tricky. Sometimes, brands will use their own trademark, their own brand name, as a hash tag among other hash tags. When it’s used in that way, that trademark of course, is a trademark whether or not it’s a hash tag. It’s being used as a hashtag, but it is a trademark. Now other hashtags are moreso descriptors or descriptions — whether you are using DIY blogger, or #lifestyleblogger, or #lifestylebloggerlife, or any of those — those are hashtags you’re using to get people to find you. And because they are not really trademarks… they aren’t really copyright either. They’re not really anything, they are descriptors or descriptions used so that you can grow your audience, right?

Printables

Who doesn’t love a good printable? A printable is most likely a download and most likely in PDF or JPEG form. And so those are actually protectable under copyright law.

Photos

Same thing with photos, whether they’re downloadable or not, of course, photos are a huge part of blog posts, and photographs are certainly protectable under copyright law.

Recipes…kind of.

Finally, recipes. And this is a tricky one. So recipes, “mere listings of ingredients,” are actually called out as not protectable under copyright law. Now how to get around this as a blogger. Well, it’s very rare that you will see a blog post with just a list of ingredients without any kind of prose or at least instructions on how to make whatever the recipe is. And instructions by themselves too are kind of tricky when it comes to copyright law. But the more creative you can be with those instructions, the more storytelling you add to it, the more photos you add to the recipe, then it starts to become a more creative, copyright-protectable work. So recipes, kind of copyright territory depending on if you have the right elements in that post.

I hope this helps you to better understand what’s protectable in your blog, and whether it falls under copyright territory or trademark territory.

2 Ways to Protect a Recipe

2 ways to protect a recipe

There are really two ways to protect a recipe. How to protect a recipe depends on how you’re using it and what exactly you want to protect. Are you a food or lifestyle blogger wanting to protect your creative content? Are you an essential oils guru, wanting to protect recipes you’ve developed? Or are you more of a chef that wants to protect a secret recipe? This post will guide you through a quick and easy explanation.


Ways to Protect a Recipe as a Blogger

So the first example, you know, maybe you have a lifestyle blog or a food blog, and you’re publishing recipes, and maybe some mouthwatering photos to go with those recipes online.

Copyright doesn’t extend to lists of ingredients. Lists of ingredients don’t really qualify as a creative work. Recipes are kind of instructional and instructions are functional.

So is anything protectable? Yes. What’s protectable is a photo, an anecdote or a story of maybe how you came up with the recipe, the prose and the text around the recipe, all of those things that make your blog unique and beautiful. The things that make it more than just a list of instructions.

If you are a blogger maybe that falls into this category, you might think about establishing some kind of copyright regimen, and registering those blog posts with the photographs, so long as you own all of that content.

Ways to Protect a Secret Recipe

If you have a secret recipe, then you’re probably thinking more along the lines of trade secret. Now, what is a trade secret? It is a valuable secret that gets its value because it gives you some kind of competitive advantage.

So how do you protect a trade secret? Well, make sure it stays secret. Make sure that it only falls into the hands of those who need to know and make sure those people sign an NDA — Non-Disclosure Agreement. And one kind of famous example of trade secret protection is KFC, their herbs and spices, right. So, allegedly half of the blend is mixed at one facility, half of the blend is mixed at another facility, and neither facility knows what’s in the other’s recipe.

You don’t have to register a trade secret anywhere in order for it to qualify for protection, you just kind of have to take those protective measures.

Maybe you’re not mixing things at two different facilities, but maybe you’re password-protecting, you know, any files that contain the recipe.

I hope that helps when it comes to understanding ways to protect a recipe.


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