Listen to Episode 222

Even Experienced Creators & Business Owners Make These Seven Mistakes … Do you?

Did you know intellectual property and business identity theft are easier than pickpocketing your wallet?

As an intellectual property attorney licensed by the US Patent and Trademark Office, I see it happen every day to people just like you. Thieves counterfeit, plagiarize, and flatout copy your stuff.

In today’s knowledge economy, protecting your business identity and intellectual property is as important as locking the front doors of your office at night. Your ideas are your business.

Yes, thieves are smart, but you can outsmart them by abstaining from the 7 Deadly Sins.

7. Not Using Copyright Notices

By failing to add a copyright notice on your content, you’re giving online pirates the excuse they need to claim ‘innocent infringement.’ Even if they’re caught, they can escape having to pay the full price for stealing your content.

6. Not Registering Your Copyrights

 There’s a nasty content-creator myth that when you create content,  you get the Copyright in it. That’s only half the story. The truth is that  you have the right to claim the copyright. But, unless you do it in less than three months, you begin losing important rights that make it easier for plagiarizers to pirate your content.

5. Not Using Trademark Notices 

Failing to include a trademark notice makes that mark more difficult to eventually register, and harder to enforce in court (should you have to); it may also prevent you from enforcing your mark in your state’s court system.

4. Not Registering Your Trademarks

Unbelievably, some online content creators often name products or events without registering it. Without a registration, another product creator – even someone in your category – could create a product and Register the name, and then send you a cease and desist letter, forcing you to change your name.

3. Not Performing “Clearance” (also called “Freedom to Operate”) Searches on your content and marks.

You know your friend who received that bill for up to $60,000 from Getty Images? A clearance search would likely have caught the error before Getty did, and given them time to correct and insulate yourself from their army of trolls.

2. Not Having a Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, and Contact Info. for your website.

If you sell online, you can get the attention of the FTC (especially if a consumer complains). If you do, these policies help insulate yourself from liability; if you don’t have these policies online, well that by itself is a violation of FTC rules and
could subject you to severe civil penalties (ask OneTechnologies).

And, now time for the #1 All-Time Business-Killing Mistake that Content Creators like You, Make All the Time:

1. Failing to get Agreements in writing.

Here’s just one example of what can go wrong:

Business Owners: If you fail to get your contractors to assign rights to you in a written agreement, then the content creator owns the intellectual property in that copyrightable content!

If you fail to get your photographer/AV person to assign you the rights in the content they capture for you (even your own photo!) then they own the intellectual property in that content and can hold it hostage(and, often do on a whim) until you pay them handsomely for a “broader license.” (Doubt me? Ask supermodel Gigi Hadid)

If you don’t have an online content agreement (aka “license”) with your customers, then your ability to stop them from re-distributing your information-based content may be limited.

Mike Kim’s Podcast – The Brand You Podcast – helps you start, run, and grow a profitable personal brand business. Mike believes true fulfillment starts with the courage to be yourself, no matter the context. He’ll help you gain clarity and put a stake in the ground for what you’re committed to in business and life. This Blog is now also a Podcast Episode with Mike Kim — listen to the episode now by clicking here! 

Listen to Episode 222

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