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What Is Protectable Inside Your Course

Today you’re going to learn about exactly what you can protect in terms of an idea for your next course, and what you can’t.

I hate to break it to you, but ideas really are a dime a dozen.

That doesn’t help you.

But what will help you is to understand that line between an unprotectable idea and a protectable expression of that idea. What’s the actual protectable creative property behind an idea?

Examples of Protectable Creative Property

My go-to example is Uber and Lyft. The same exact idea, different execution, different brands, different feel when you’re in their app. But let’s bring it back to that course context.

How about Kajabi and Kartra? Those are platforms that integrate email and email marketing and hosting your online course and allowing you to upload videos and your course content. Same idea, different execution, different brands, different features.

Finally, a great example is Amy Porterfield and Jenna Kutcher. Each of them has online courses on how to build your email list. But again, different brands may be different content in that course, different videos, of course, different worksheets, all of those things are the different protectable parts of those courses.

All of those are examples of ideas, pure ideas that are executed in different ways. And it’s the execution that we’re focusing on.

What’s protectable when it comes to a course?

Well, there’s the brand name and logo and a logo that you might have for your overall brand. And the course you’re releasing under that brand, but also any special logo that you have for that course, those two things are protectable under US trademark law. There are artistic elements like graphic design that are part of that user experience. Those fall under copyright territory. There’s text, of course, whether it’s a script, or a worksheet, or a workbook, purely copyrightable.

To recap what’s protectable…

  • brand name
  • logo
  • graphic designs
  • text (in whatever form and in your course)
  • video

In other words, whatever you do, and create to make this idea of yours and make it different from someone else’s execution of that same idea, that’s probably what’s protectable here.

Whatever it takes it beyond, “This is my idea for the subject matter of a course” beyond that, too. “Here’s why people are going to buy from me here is the specific thing that I’ve created.” That’s what we’re talking about here in terms of the protectable parts of the course.

I hope that that helps you to better understand what’s protectable about a course idea!

If you have this little lingering feeling like there might be some legal issue out there that I’m not thinking of it could come back to haunt me, head to to find out the legal blind spot that is secretly killing your business and not only to find out about that blind spot, but how to fix it.