Walking the halls and halls of products at this year’s International CES, you can find wearable technology, sensors, connected toys, connected cars, UDH TV’s and so much more.
But in addition to all the hardware, we’re seeing many software solutions for the millions of us who regularly maintain blogs and websites: the content creators.
So many questions exist about property rights and content; who owns your image, can you re-post someone else’s image with credit and what the heck is fair use?
At MommyTechTV at CES Tuesday, we got real answers from Chrissy Watson, an Intellectual Property and New Media Lawyer. Chrissy also writes the new media law blog, Bloggy Law where she shares tips for navigating the social media legal landscape. She also writes The Outlaw Mom Blog, a lifestyle and early education blog that encourages parents to “#RaiseThinkingKids.”
Here are her take-aways from the segment, and you can watch the video below for more:
1. You own the copyright to your photograph, recording, or written copy (including blog posts, marketing material, packaging copy, etc.) the instant it is created.
2. Register your copyrighted works to take full advantage of the legal protections offered to registered copyright owners (e.g., the ability to sue infringers).
3. “Fair Use” is not simply a general opinion of what is “fair” when it comes to using part of or the entire copyrighted work of another: It is a legally-defined exception that may or may not apply to your use of a copyrighted work, depending on multiple factors, regardless of how generously you attribute the original author.
4. Using the informal (TM) symbol is one way to assert common law rights in your trademark, even though your mark is not yet registered by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office.
5. Rather than selling all of the rights to your intellectual property outright, consider granting the other party a license to particular rights in order to create or extend the existing life of your IP’s stream of income.
6. When considering a license, pay close attention to the language defining how, where and when the intellectual property can be used (e.g., is it exclusive?; can it be used on only one website or product?; is it for a renewable term?; etc.)
7. Your intellectual property portfolio can also include “rights of publicity” and related rights if part of your brand includes being a spokesperson or brand evangelist.
8. Formalize your business structure. Even if you operate your business with only verbal or loose arrangements with friends, the law may recognize you and your “friends” as a formal partnership for liability and tax purposes.
9. Consider forming an LLC or incorporating your business to avoid certain personal and tax liabilities.
10. Don’t DIY your company’s legal work: When in doubt, consult an attorney that has specialized experience in your particular area of need.