My top four legal tips for online businesses. In this post you’re going to get an idea of my top tips when it comes to disclosures, copyright, and ideas.
Disclosure Requirements Apply to All Media.
First, remember that disclosures apply to all media. That means it’s not just for sponsored posts on instagram but also emails, blog posts, videos, photographs, anywhere where you’re talking about something and you have a material connection to that brand or that business — and remember a material connection can mean you’re getting paid, you’re getting free stuff, if it’s a family relationship — anytime there’s a material connection you have to disclose that to your viewer, your audience, your reader. And that disclosure should be conspicuous! That means it shouldn’t be hidden in tiny fine print at the bottom of a marketing email or affiliate email, it shouldn’t be at the very bottom of a blog post because someone might not scroll all the way down to the bottom of a blog post. Conspicuous means hard to miss.
Copyright Ownership Happens Earlier Than You Think
Next, when it comes to copyright, know this:
You own the stuff that you create by default. You don’t have to register it with the Copyright Office in order to own it.
(I say you own it and there are some exceptions when you’re an employee creating stuff for your employer.)
But for the most part, the default rule is you create it, you own the copyright to it, boom. You don’t have to mail it to yourself, you don’t have to register it — although, and that takes us to number three…
Copyright Registration Is Worth It
Copyright registration does have its benefits for a bunch of reasons. Like:
- You don’t have to prove that you own it;
- You can get statutory damages ($$$$); and
- You can get your attorneys’ fees back.
Understand the Law of Ideas.
Finally, let’s talk for one second about ideas. An idea is just an idea.
Uber and Lyft: same idea.
What’s protectable is how you express that idea. What makes how you do it awesome? What makes it unequivocally you? Those little unique factors are probably what’s protectable about your idea.
So I hope that shines a light on my top four legal tips for online businesses and i’ll see you next time.
CONTACT COPYCATS YOURSELF WITH CONFIDENCE
An Online Brand’s Guide to Dealing with Copycats
Itching to contact that copycat, but not ready to go full lawyered-up-cease-and-desist, yet?
In this free resource, you’ll get:
- A little checklist to run through before you contact someone yourself;
- An idea of things that you can say; and
- What NOT to say.