Episode 65: How to Register & Defend Your Copyright - Business Bites

How to Register & Defend Your Copyright

Episode 65 on the Business Bites Podcast

The Gist Of It:  Intellectual property theft is an issue EVERY entrepreneur faces.  It’s not if it happens, it is a matter of when it happens.  Be prepared to protect the content and brand you have tirelessly built. In this episode, we will talk about how to register and defend your copyright.

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Rachel B.: Hey guys. My name is Rachel Brenke and I am joined with Autumn Boyd, and we’re gonna share with you guys a little bit about U.S. copyright and trademark law for entrepreneurs. Autumn and I are excited to share this because we see so many of you guys falling into legal traps, and we would rather you focus on your business, growing it, making money, and living life as opposed to having to worry about the legal stuff.

Rachel B.: Our goal is for you guys to be educated, prevent issues, put the things in play that you need to put into play, but we’re gonna break it down nice and easy for you so you can implement it easily to focus on everything I just outlined.

Rachel B.: I am an attorney just like Autumn. We both do intellectual property work. I am very specific in the areas of fitness professionals, photographers, and other creatives. And I’ll Autumn introduce herself here in a second. But just for my personal side note from me, I am a mother, a triathlete, and oh I have five kids, and I am a wife a well. So, everything that I recommend is not just from a legal perspective. I have other businesses outside of running a law firm and practicing law.

Rachel B.: So, guys, I’m in the trenches just like you. I understand the pain points. I didn’t come out the gate entrepreneurship knowing all this. I just got the benefit of becoming a lawyer later. If you want to call that a benefit. And so, whenever the advice or the comments and recommendations that I make is pairing the legal stuff with also the real life application. So, just understand, take a deep breath through this, we have been, we are where you guys are now and we’re hoping to guide you a little bit. Autumn?

Autumn B.: Yay. Well I’m so excited to be here with Rachel. As she mentioned, I am also a lawyer. By background is copyright and trademark. I have also worked with a lot of photographers, so we have that in common as well. And I now, our law firm specializes in helping online and eCommerce entrepreneurs. So, we handle not just intellectual peppery but all the business stuff, that you know, most of us just like Rachel said, did not go to business school.

Autumn B.: So, we a learning it as we go. And my goal, when I work with clients is really to help them learn about things that will be coming up as they grow and scale. We call that issue spotting when we’re lawyers. But, you don’t need to know all this legal stuff, but we want to give you at least enough of a vocabulary and kind of a really high level overview, is what we’re gonna be talking about today.

Autumn B.: So that when these issues come up, and they will come up for every business, especially if you’re in a digital business or a creative business, like Rachel said, you are going to be having to deal with copyrights and trademarks. So, it’s important that you at least understand kind of how they work and you know when to call in an expert. So, we are going to-

Rachel B.: Yeah for sure.

Autumn B.: Yeah. We are gonna go over especially some copyright concepts today. I feel like we hear a lot more about trademarks. But, copyright can be really important for a creative business as well.

Rachel B.: There’s a lot of misinformation for copyright out there. So, we’re gonna try to clear out those myths for you. And if you’re watching this and you’re not sure if it really applies, because you’re like copyrights, intellectual property, if you’re in business you have intellectual property. You have a business name, you probably have a logo, you have blog posts, social media posts, images, videos. Pretty much anything that you’re using in marketing.

Rachel B.: You know, on the photographer side, you’re selling intellectual property or licensing it rather. But, if you’re maybe in a field, you’re going, “I don’t really know. I don’t really understand.” Trust me, guaranteed probably 99.9999% of you have intellectual property. If you don’t have any of the things that I listed, you probably will eventually. Or maybe you’re not an entrepreneur and you’re just watching because you want to learn the legal stuff, which is super cool as well.

Rachel B.: A disclaimer is Autumn and I are United States based attorneys, so this is gonna be for U.S. based businesses. And it’s not legal advice. This is more general information. One of the benefits of copyright and trademark is that it is fairly federal, so you guys are gonna find that across the United States it’s going to be pretty much the same information. Just don’t hang your hat on everything we said. Really it’s all about equipping you, like Autumn said, knowing the lingo, the vocabulary, so that you can research more. And also, when you do have to go talk to an attorney and hopefully that it is before an issue happens and not when one happens, because it will. So, you can walk in the door and be empowered with the knowledge and empowered with the decision making, and not just blindly handing over what your intellectual property and your whole livelihood to an attorney.

Rachel B.: So, just know that, again this is general information. Pretty gonna be spot on. We do this all day, every day, but just don’t hang your hat on it as legal advice because all situations can be different. We’re gonna speak generally, we’re probably gonna get some examples that can help you to kind of better understand how to apply all of this. But just know at the end of the day you need to talk to a local attorney before you guys go out to try to do it yourself.

Rachel B.: We’re gonna define copyright and trademark and all that. My added disclaimer for this is, I think you’re gonna feel pretty confident when you’re done listening about the topics, but doing it yourself can cost you a lot more money when you have to clean it up later. I really, again, this information so you’re equipped not so much that you can implement lawyers. There’s … lawyers are worth their weight in gold. We get a bad rap. There’s a lot of jokes about us, but really I hate when you entrepreneurs come to me, especially if you’re in the new beginnings of your business, and you’re like, “Oh, I have a copyright issue and I don’t really have the money for an attorney.” And it cost a lot if you’ve infringed somebody, which we’re gonna talk about it. Or if someone’s infringing you, it costs money for you to be able to fix those issues.

Rachel B.: And it just breaks my heart when I have to … I see these business owners struggling with, “Well I want to do the right thing.” Or, “I want to enforce my rights and don’t really have the funds.” So, I guess my other little FYI with that is start saving now. If you don’t have a line item in your budget for legal services, and tax services-

Autumn B.: Like here’s my praise hands for this.

Rachel B.: Right, right. Yeah, Autumn and I, we’ve had these conversations before, because we work with you guys. We get it. We’ve been there. So, right now, scribble down on a piece of paper, line item to start saving. … [inaudible 00:06:26] maybe a 100 bucks away every month, that’s 1,200 dollars at the end of the year. And you may never have to use it, but by the end I think we’ll have you convinced that you at least want to get a consult with a local attorney and kind of see what your rights and protections are.

Rachel B.: So, Autumn do you want to go ahead … do you have anything else on that or do you want to kick off on copyrights?

Autumn B.: Yeah. Let’s kick off on copyright. The only thing I would add is, I just like you, I think it should be a line item in every budget. It really is, legal is, a cost of doing business. So, it needs to be something just like marketing or paying your employees to actually do the thing. It needs to be something that you are budgeting for every single year. And like Rachel said, maybe not every year do you have to use it all, but at some point if you’re in business, you’re gonna have a dispute, you’re gonna have a contract that goes wrong, you’re gonna an intellectual property issue. So, definitely something to plan ahead for.

Autumn B.: But yeah, let’s dive in to just kind of what is, we’re gonna be using the words copyright and trademark, and there’s a lot of confusion about even what those are. So, just at a really high level. And again, this is all based on U.S. law. In the U.S. copyright law is going to protect what we call original works of authorship. So, these are things we think of as creative works. Photos, music, books, movies, sculpture. But it can also be things in your business like, if you have a manual that has a bunch of writing in it. It can be if you sell an online course. Most of that content is probably going to be protected by copyright. If you’re doing videos like this one, this is protected by copyright.

Autumn B.: So, it’s not going to protect facts or ideas. That is a big misconception. Someone comes to me and they say, “I have this great idea for a system of how to do X, Y, Z.” Or, “I want to make a movie about …” you know, and they’ll kind of give me a very high level outline of a story. And you can’t protect an idea. You can’t stop somebody else from basically doing the same idea. But, it will protect the way that you actually express that.

Autumn B.: So what that means is, if you actually make the movie it will protect the movie. If you actually write it down in a book, it will protect the book. It will protect the way you put your idea kind of into a creative work. [crosstalk 00:08:29]

Rachel B.: The way I look at it, is it tangible or intangible? Can I hold it? Can I physically see the text on the screen, or is it still up here? It needs to be tangible and fixed.

Autumn B.: Yeah, I say it needs to come out of your brain and it can be in a computer file but it can’t just be in your brain. It has to be somewhere. Yeah. So, I would love for you, Rachel to go over how trademark is a little bit different than copyright.

Rachel B.: Yeah, we’ll dig into a little bit more of trademark. The thing with copyright is that you’re inherently protecting that tangible work of authorship. A trademark is more protecting a source indicator. And I always think of it like a string. You’re connecting your … oh, let’s think of a big brand. Coca cola. Right.

Rachel B.: They’re name is trademarked. [inaudible 00:09:13] some of the examples I’ll go over here in a second, of what you can trademark. But you know, when you see a Coke can, put a string on it, and you know string it over to the Coca Cola headquarters in Atlanta or wherever. You know that it’s coming from Coca Cola. If they’re using that mark they get to preserve and save and protect that as a source indicator. Nike swoosh is another big one. You know if you buy a Nike swoosh that it should be coming from Nike.

Rachel B.: And so, we’ll dig in a little bit more on trademarks but just keep in mind that copyrights the actual work itself. The trademark is protection of it as a source indicator. Now, there is overlap on that, because if someone is using your logo. That’s a great example. Your logo is probably an indicator, like the Nike swoosh of your business, and where your goods and services are coming from. But it also, the swoosh itself, inherently has copyright protectable elements to it.

Rachel B.: So, it can be used together. There is an overlap. Just know they have their own distinctive … what’s the word I’m looking for? Implementation.

Autumn B.: Yeah, they’re protecting different things.

Rachel B.: Yup, exactly.

Autumn B.: Yeah. Great. So in the U.S., and again this is only in the U.S. that we’re talking about today.

Rachel B.: Just say that repeatedly because there will be someone that watches it and goes, “Well that doesn’t … I talked to my lawyer in my country and it doesn’t work that way.” And we’re like, “U.S.”

Autumn B.: Yes. Yes. So, we have automatic copyright protection in the U.S. and this is another way that trademark law is a little bit different. But under our federal copyright act, as soon as, like we said it goes out of your brain and it is fixed into something tangible, whether it’s a computer file or a piece of paper, or a sculpture. You’re automatically protected under copyright law. So that means you own the rights. Whoever created it, and you have the right to keep other people from using your creative work.

Autumn B.: So, you have the, we call these exclusive rights, so you control the work basically, once you create it. And you’ll hear us talk about infringement today. So, that’s something I just wanted to define. That means using something without the permission of the person who owns it. So, you get this automatic protection.

Autumn B.: In the U.S., again, the initial owner of any copyright is going to be the person who creates it. This gets a little bit tricky when we have employees and contractors. So, you may have heard about work for hire. Rachel, do you want to go over what that means?

Rachel B.: Yeah, I think … like Autumn said, I’m the creator, I’m the photographer, or I’m an individual writing the book, I am going to have that ownership over whatever I have tangibly created. However, if I am an employee of an entity, maybe I work for somebody and I create a manual or a book, by default that legal entity in the scope of employment, my status is actually as an employee, it’s not owned by me. It’s owned by my employer, by the legal entity that employs me.

Rachel B.: Now, if I’m an independent contractor, I’m more of like a 1099, I don’t work for them all the time, I don’t really receive benefits, and there’s a whole long test you guys can check out at IRS.gov, and many of the states have taken that test and kind of applied it and modified it a bit. But, they’re pretty much all inherently the same elements. It’s kind of the sliding scale. You look at how much control does the employer have over you or not.

Rachel B.: It’s not enough for you to say, “I’m an independent contractor, so I own everything.” By default independent contracts own their intellectual property, [that own 00:12:46] the copyrights on the stuff that they create. It’s not enough just to raise your hand and say, “I’m an independent contractor.” It’s not enough for the legal entity that is giving you this test to say, “You’re an independent contractor,” if they treat you like an employee.

Rachel B.: And you guys can dig into that test. It really is … the question is how much control does that employer, does that legal entity have over you. The more control, the more likely you’re gonna be an employee, and the more likely whatever you create is going to be owned by that legal entity. In the inverse, if it’s less control and you’re an independent contractor, the independent contractor retains the ownership over that works. Whatever they have created.

Rachel B.: What’s really, really important about this. And a lot of people, if you’ve gotten a logo designed for you, you’ve probably hired an independent contractor-

Autumn B.: There’s so much confusion in this area, I think.

Rachel B.: I know. I know. And you know … I ran into this issue when I first started out. I wasn’t a lawyer. I thought I hired one off logo designer. I get a logo. I go to get it trademarked. Well, when I go to get it trademarked or I go to enforce my copyrights because someone’s then using my logo, if I’m not the owner, if I’m not the copyright holder … or I’m sorry, the intellectual property rights owner, I can’t enforce any rights. I can’t even register it for copyright or trademark if I don’t have the rights to do so.

Rachel B.: So in this context, if you guys have gone out to get a logo, you want to make sure, because they’re probably an independent contractor, you want to make sure that they have signed over the rights.

Autumn B.: Yes.

Rachel B.: [inaudible 00:14:22] through contract. And-

Autumn B.: It has to be in writing. A verbal agreement will not work here. It has to be in writing.

Rachel B.: Yup. You know, the scary thing about that for me, is also say you don’t get it in writing like Autumn said, and you get this logo created, you’ve been using it for ten years, and all of a sudden someone else is using it and you want to try to stop them. Well, you don’t have the rights to stop them. But guess what, also at any time that logo designer, since they’re the ones that are the actual owner of that logo can stop you from using the logo at any time.

Rachel B.: You really have only been given a license of use. You have no ownership in it. So, not only could you not enforce your rights, because you don’t really have any, you could also be stopped from using that if you’ve hired an independent contractor. So, I know sometimes, Autumn and I are on a couple of Facebook groups togethers. That’s how we met. And you’ll see us chime in and go, “Well did you get that in writing?”

Rachel B.: And it’s because we’re trying to protect you guys. Because you want to be able to keep using your logo. You want to be able to register it. You want to be able to enforce. And you sub the logo out for image, for a book, anything [crosstalk 00:15:31]

Autumn B.: I was about to say I see this a lot with photography as well, as I’m sure you do. You know, you have a new website, you need some photos created. Maybe a head shots. And you think, “Well, I paid that photographer. I told them what to do. It’s my face in the picture. Certainly I own that.” And the answer is no. You don’t necessarily own that unless you have gotten it in writing.

Autumn B.: So, it’s so critical if you are having things created for your business. A lot of us use copywriters or other contractors to help us with social media or with other kinds of marketing efforts. You probably do not own that stuff, unless you have it in writing that you do.

Rachel B.: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And with owning it, I go back to law school when they taught us about the bundle of sticks.

Autumn B.: Yes.

Rachel B.: And each stick represents a different right. So, the right to use it, distribute it, display it, create derivative works, but I take it a step further in my mind. When I have that logo designer create that logo, they’re still holding that bundle of sticks. So, let’s say that someone takes that logo and they’re using and I want to try to enforce, my hands are empty. I have no stick to hit them over the head with, right.

Rachel B.: All those sticks have to be given to me in order for me to be able to enforce. And I don’t mean go out and actually hit people over the head. But like, that’s just kind of how I visually think about, they have to sign over and hand me that bundle of sticks for me to be able to do anything with those sticks.

Autumn B.: Yeah. Another area where this some times comes up is let’s say you’ve been working with the designer to design a logo or other graphics for your business, and maybe you and the designer have a falling out. You don’t really love the direction they’re going in. And maybe you think, well I’m not gonna pay them because they haven’t finished the project, but I want to take the work they’ve done take it to another designer to get it finished. Unless, in your contract you have the right to that work, you probably can’t do that. The designer still owns all of that.

Autumn B.: And I’ve seen it on this flip side. I’ve helped designers with contract disputes for lots and lots of money, and they were working with a big corporation, but because of the way the contract was written or maybe they didn’t have a contract at all, you know, the corporation may have paid them a lot of money and was left like you said, with empty hands. No rights to anything.

Rachel B.: You know what, we had a client, and I should have mentioned this earlier. It can even come down to website code. She had hired a brand developer, so it was like a logo, slogan, the website design, but it was also custom coding features. And so that custom coding itself was inherently protected and it was the same situation like you’re talking about.

Rachel B.: They had a falling out and she wanted to take it to have someone else complete it. But, our client, because she came to us after they fact, she didn’t come to us before, had nothing to take. All that money, I mean we’re still working through it, but essentially all that money could be lost.

Rachel B.: So, our recommendation is if you’re in these situations just keep in mind, if you don’t have that bundle of sticks you’re not the one who created it … I even recommend this when you have employees as for legal entity. I make everyone who works for me that I do tasks with to sign an intellectual property acknowledgement, that everything they create in a scope of what I provide them, is going to be mine. It’s going to be my legal entities. And the reason I also have employees, because I do have W2s and then I have 1099 independent contractors. We talked about earlier with the IRS test that you can look up to determine the less control, more control. You may have a transition. You might start with someone as an independent contractor and they may transition to employee or in the inverse, just by mere operation of how you treat them over the years.

Rachel B.: Especially when you start developing friendships, and you’re becoming a lot more lax. It’s just harder after the fact to come and get documents signed. I have them signed all up front, just so that there’s no question at all to who owns that intellectual property.

Autumn B.: That is a great idea. I have always kind of nagging my clients about did you get that independent contractor agreement signed and they’re, “Yeah, yeah. We’ll do it at some point.” And then we had one recently where there was some kind of some one left, and there was a little bit of bad talking about one another and we included what we call a non-disparagement. This is not a copyright issue, but just saying you can’t trash each other in public.

Autumn B.: And she had not gotten that contract signed. And she was like, “Now I understand why it’s so important. Like, I’m going to go get everybody to sign them right now.”

Rachel B.: Yup. You know, and that’s the thing, you always want to … and I think this I also why lawyers get a bad rap, because we’re always looking for the worse case scenarios and we have the end in mind, because it will happen. And if you’re working with friends, now my husband and I kind of have this rule that we don’t really do business with friends, at least large business jobs. We may do some minor stuff, but if we do that, we do it clean and clear.

Rachel B.: We sign contracts, we pay money, we pay the actual rate, we don’t do discounting because we want to preserve personal relationships. But also, because I see it all the time that, and I’m sure you do too Autumn, more problems actually occur when you’re working with friends and family as posed to strangers.

Autumn B.: Yeah, absolutely. I was joking, my husband has several of his own businesses as well, and he’s involved in working on a deal and it’s kind of a long term thing. There probably won’t be any money from it for a while. And the other guy’s like, “Well, don’t you trust me? Like, you know I’ll make good on this.” And I was like-

Rachel B.: No!

Autumn B.: Yeah. I was like, A., I don’t trust anyone further than I can throw them and I’m not very strong. But B., like yes, if you trust me, you will have no problem putting it in writing because you intend to stand up to your promises. Like, that’s the way we protect everybody. That’s how we show we are really trustworthy. Alright.

Rachel B.: I agree. [crosstalk 00:21:02]. Go ahead. Let’s talk about co-ownership, because I think that is a huge question especially amongst photographers specifically.

Autumn B.: Yeah. I think especially in creative fields we do a lot of collaboration, which is awesome. I think we make way better things when we are working with another creative mind. But copyright law is kind of weird when it comes to co-ownership. So, the basic rule is if you’re working with someone and you’re both contributing something creative to it, and there is a threshold but it’s pretty low of how much each person has to contribute. It could be 99% one person and 1% the other person. You now are both co-owners.

Autumn B.: The law does not see that one person did 99% and the other person did 1%. It kind of treats you as equals. So, this is another area, and I’d love to get some of your input Rachel, from the photography world of how you do-

Rachel B.: I’m not a fan of co-ownership.

Autumn B.: Yeah, well that’s what I was about to say. I just always put it in writing and we figure it out on the front end, because the way the law works is not how most people want it to work.

Rachel B.: Mm-hmm (affirmative). You know, I’ve actually run into this with having my podcast and having guests come on. By default, we just have everything signed over to us so that we can utilize it. Of course, I feel like I’ve also developed a rapport that the guests know that I’m not gonna go and use it in a nefarious type manner. I love that word, nefarious.

Rachel B.: But, at the same time, they’ve asked, “Well, but don’t I have any ownership in part of the interview and what I’m developing with you?” And we just worked it out on the front end before again, this is why you don’t wait until after [crosstalk 00:22:36]

Autumn B.: Do you have people sign a podcast guest agreement?

Rachel B.: I do.

Autumn B.: Yeah. I wish more people would. Most people don’t, but I think it’s so smart. And I have this same question asked to me, like does a podcast guest have ownership in that podcast episode? And I think you could make an argument that they do.

Rachel B.: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And you know, it’s easy. The thing I don’t … if they ask … and this is where a lot of the issues run into. People confuse copyright ownership because you have that bundle of sticks and one of them is being able to distribute and use it, right? Or two sticks actually. But, you may have an issue like in the photography client situation or with two podcast guests, like the host and a guest, they may just want to be able to use it, right?

Rachel B.: They don’t have to own it to use it. Now, I know we said that it’s true, however, again, you as the owner of the works. So, me as the podcast host say all of that’s signed over to me. I have all those sticks. I get to extend a license to any of the guest who want to go and use it. You know? Again, they can’t do that because I own the whole thing, I could sue them for infringement if I don’t give them permission. But, I’m a reasonless individual. We sort this all out ahead to time.

Rachel B.: You know, it all comes down to also you’ve got to balance it with marketing, and yada yada. But when it comes like photographer client. Many times the clients are like, “Oh, I want all the right.” Well, they don’t know the distinctions between owning it and the enforcement of that and being able to use it. Most just want to be able to print and use it on their social media.

Autumn B.: Yeah. And I’ve had photographer clients too who really wanted to keep all of the rights, and have had disputes with their clients who want to own all the rights. And I’ve said to, not every photographer … it depends on the situation, but I have said to some photographer clients, like, “Why do you need all the rights? Why can’t you sign them over? Maybe charge a little more.”

Autumn B.: You know, if you’re doing a catalog shoot for a product, like the idea if you want to hold onto the rights is maybe you could reuse them somewhere else or you could license them to somebody else, but if you’re doing a product photo shoot, you’re not probably going to license those to anybody else. So, it’s probably not a big deal for you to sign over the rights.

Autumn B.: So, it’s gonna depend on the situation. What is important to you? What makes sense? And your relationship with the person you’re working with, for sure.

Rachel B.: Yeah. For sure. So, yeah, coming down to co-ownership, like you said, put it all in writing. There’s not a threshold necessarily of how much someone has to contribute. I’m just not a fan of it because what happens if there is infringement that occurs on it, you know? You’ve got a ball and chain that you’ve got to deal with. I’m just not a fan.

Rachel B.: I feel like you could come up with one person owning and the other having a very good extended, perpetual license and use, without having to have ownership.

Autumn B.: Yeah, and a profit share or something like that. Like if you’re truly collaborating on something you can work out the money without having to have ownership.

Rachel B.: Yeah, exactly, exactly.

Autumn B.: Yeah.

Rachel B.: Good call.

Autumn B.: Alright. So let’s talk about registration. I think there’s so much confusion about this area because we do have this weird situation in the U.S. where you have automatic protection but unless you register you can’t actually enforce those rights. So, tell me what you see as some of the benefits to registering? dD you encourage registration or only in certain scenarios? [crosstalk 00:25:21]

Autumn B.: I am personally a copy right evangelist. So, I’m always trying to tell people to register.

Rachel B.: Yes. So, yeah, like Autumn said, copyright by default once you create it and it’s published you have copyright protections. Now, that’s just simply being able to say I have copyright protections. There’s no actual like written in law benefits like taking the step of registration will give you.

Rachel B.: When it comes to I created a logo or I created an image, I didn’t register it, yeah I can send a demand letter, I can sue someone for infringement, but my damages are gonna based on actual damages. So, how was I damaged? You know, how much money did that person make through the use of that intellectual property item.

Rachel B.: In the inverse if you take the steps to register, which is so super cheap. You spend more money on two steak meal at Outback. Right? And you just stick into your cost of doing business, you can have … oh what are the numbers? I know you can get statutory attorneys fees? And what’s the numbers on that?

Autumn B.: It’s up to $150,000 per work. So, let’s say somebody took five of your phots, that’s five times $150,000.

Rachel B.: 150,00

Autumn B.: And if you’re trying to prove actual damages, I mean you’re probably looking at maybe a couple thousand dollars, best case scenario. And it’s going to cost you more than that to hire a lawyer to file a lawsuit. So, you all of a sudden go from something that’s really not even worth the cost to enforce to okay, now we’re talking real money and I can make the other side pay for my attorney. So, now it makes it more likely that you’ll be able to get an attorney interested in actually helping you, because they know they might be able to get paid on the back end as part of your damages.

Rachel B.: Yeah. Well you know, and that’s maybe a side note on that. A lot of copyright lawyers will do contingency based only, but most of them will only do contingency based if you have an actual … I’m sorry, if you have a registration.

Autumn B.: Yes.

Rachel B.: We do things a little bit differently. We don’t just jump to filing lawsuits. I was talking about this with my partner yesterday, I don’t think we’ve ever jumped in a copyright infringement case to just filling off the bat. We at least start with one letter.

Autumn B.: Sure, yeah. It’s always worth trying.

Rachel B.: So we just charge hourly. For sure. You know, especially in this world, where many of you listening probably know way more than the majority of people out there now. They just don’t know. That’s not a defense of the law. You know? But it definitely … sometimes just a little education and just outlining your rights goes a long way. And we even do that when you have unregistered copyrights, as well. You still can assert to request payment, to request people to take it down. But anyways, we’ll talk about it here in a little bit.

Rachel B.: I’m a huge proponent of registration for if nothing else, just to make sure that $150,000 number, it’s a really good [crosstalk 00:28:41].

Autumn B.: It’s like a hammer when you’re negotiation.

Rachel B.: Yes. Yes. Because if you have unregistered and I’ve run into this with a couple of clients, the infringing party will then say, “Well, what do you typically charge for that?” That type of conversation doesn’t really happen when have registration, because the 150,000, not just 150, the 150,000 already put into the law for you.

Rachel B.: So that’s an anchoring point for you already.

Autumn B.: Yeah. That’s awesome. I also like it, especially if you have a business where you’re doing licensing. So, if you’re giving other people permission to use your work and they’re paying you. That makes that license more valuable, because again if somebody rips them off, you know, they know that it’s going to be protectable.

Autumn B.: And that you can take action. So, it kind of protects them if you’re in a licensing type scenario. I also, the copyright office database, is not great, but it is searchable. [crosstalk 00:29:31]. Yeah, they’re actually working on this. And I talked with a woman recently who’s like doing their revamp. I don’t know when it’s going to go live, but they are working on it.

Autumn B.: It’s very difficult to search for visual things, like let’s say you know someone took a photo of a horse and you don’t know if it’s registered. There’s pretty much no way to search for an image. But if you know like the title of a book, or you know the name of company and you want to see have they registered anything, you can do some basic searching.

Autumn B.: So, that puts people on notice that you believe that you have rights, you take them seriously, it’s likely to get other people to take you more seriously.

Rachel B.: And you know if you are gonna end up going to file a federal lawsuit, because you’re gonna be in federal court, you’re going to have to register anyways.

Autumn B.: Yes.

Rachel B.: So, even if you … which I hate this conversation-

Autumn B.: It’s required.

Rachel B.: With clients. Yeah, it’s required before you even file, but what will happen, we’ll run into, we’ll go to letter writing. It may not pan out. And then … and it’s an unregistered image, and they’ll say, “Okay, let’s sue.” And I go, “Well, we have to register.” Now they’re faced with, okay, do I wait 69 months for that registration to be approved, or do I pay the $800 expedited fee for this registration.

Rachel B.: And so it just … especially when you are a small business, maybe a solo type premier. You don’t necessarily have an extra $800 on top of legal fees. So for me, I just recommend, yes registration for all the reasons that we’ve listed. Stick it into your regular workflow. Like, we’re gonna talk about with infringement, for your registration to have the full force, if it’s 150,000 the attorney’s fees and everything, you need to register it with in 90 days of creation/publication.

Rachel B.: And I say it that way, because there’s still a little bit of a gray area of really what defines publication. And so, 90 days from when that happens with the work, and before the infringing action occurs. There is a little caveat if they keep infringing but they do it in a different manner after registration.

Autumn B.: It’s really difficulty. Yeah.

Rachel B.: It’s too confusing to go down that path. But just know that you’re not completely excluded. Ask your lawyer.

Autumn B.: So, let’s talk about the registration process. It is online. There are paper forms. Do not use the paper forms. It will make it go slower.

Rachel B.: Don’t. And they charge you more.

Autumn B.: Yes. It’s more expensive and slower. I think the system, it’s not incredibly user friendly but it’s fairly simple. It’s definitely something that maybe talk with a layer the firs time you file a registration. Make sure you’re filing in all of the blanks the right way, that’s what I do with a lot of my clients. We’ll do one together and then they can take it over. Because it is expensive to have a lawyer doing all your registrations, and it’s a pretty user friendly system.

Rachel B.: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, we’ve had to clean up a couple of issues that end up in an infringement suit, because they had DIYed the application process. But, we did just like you, we walked through and said, “Okay, from now on, this is what you want to do.” But yeah, we did have to clean up a couple of issues. So.

Autumn B.: Yeah. The filing fees, it’s going to be $35 if it’s one work and you’re an individual. It’s $55 if it’s a corporate owner. So, they’re pretty low. It’s not nearly as expensive as the trademark process.

Rachel B.: Oh, for sure.

Autumn B.: Highly recommend, like you said, just putting it into your workflow. If you’re producing something new just go ahead and get it registered.

Rachel B.: Yup. And keep in mind, like we talked about earlier, if say you have a logo, you’re gonna … if you want to fully protect it you’re gonna need to do a copyright registration and a trademark registration, because again the trademark is only protecting that string that’s connecting as a source indicator for the use of that. It’s not inherently protecting the actual design.

Autumn B.: Right.

Rachel B.: Of the logo.

Autumn B.: It’s only if you are confusing someone.

Rachel B.: Yup.

Autumn B.: But yeah, with a copyright you can have someone who’s not confusing your customers, they just ripped you off.

Rachel B.: Yeah. Yeah, pretty much. Pretty much.

Autumn B.: It’s kind of two different ways to protect what you’ve got [crosstalk 00:33:17].

Rachel B.: No go ahead.

Autumn B.: For a creative work like that where it is a logo, I think doing both is definitely the best case scenario.

Rachel B.: I agree. It’s a low cost investment. It’s relatively easy for you guys to do, and one of the things that’s different with copyright versus trademark is that there’s not a requirement to police your copyright. So, let’s say you find someone using your logo, and you’re like, “Oh, I just can’t afford to enforce my rights on this. I’m gonna let it go.”

Rachel B.: You don’t have a potential of losing your copyright, where as on the trademark side you have a duty to reach out to the people using your trademark and in a source indicator fashion. You have a duty to make sure they stop doing it, or you could potentially lose your trademark. So, just know, copyright … I mean, like we really do-

Autumn B.: Yeah there’s a lot of benefits.

Rachel B.: There’s a lot of benefits and it kind of sucks that you have to come up with the investment to enforce your rights, but there’s so many low cost ways and so many benefits to it that you really can help yourself just by registering, and it’s like 30, $35.

Autumn B.: Yeah. So, let’s talk about the C in a circle symbol. This is another area I get a lot of questions about. So, when is that appropriate to use? When should you use it? Do you have to use it?

Rachel B.: Oh you go for it.

Autumn B.: Oh, sure. So, you do not have to have registration to use the C in a circle. So, that is the best part. It really is just meant to put other people on notice like, “Hey, I own this thing. I take my rights seriously.” And you can include, you don’t have to, but it’s a good idea, the year that you first published the work and your name or whoever the owner is. So that if someone sees that on a work, they know who to contact maybe if they want to use it.

Autumn B.: Or you could put something on there, again not required, but a good idea, something like “All rights reserved.” Or “No copying without permission.” You know, wherever, however you want people to either use or not use the work, or some people say, “May be used to personal use only.”

Autumn B.: You know. There’s lots of different notices that you can include there. It used to be required that you include a copyright notice, but since the late ’80s it is not anymore. So again, this is just, it’s a best practice. Again, different from trademark law. The R in a circle you can only use if you have a registration.

Autumn B.: But in the copyright world, the C in a cire is free for you to use and it’s a good idea.

Rachel B.: And I definitely highly recommend doing it because from a lawyer’s perceptive, if someone’s infringing upon you, one of the things that we can identify is that it was willful infringement. Like Autumn said, someone’s then put on notice there’s a C or a circle or say you have a photograph and you put a watermark on it, it doesn’t even have to be this C in the circle.

Rachel B.: But then they remove the watermark. That shows willfulness. They can’t use what’s called an innocent infringer defense, which I still think is complete crap. But.

Autumn B.: They can’t say, “I had no idea this was protected by copyright.”

Rachel B.: Well, and that still that defense as crap to me, which is like such a legal term that I’m using that. But you know, it drives me crazy when people use it. But when we can find that they cropped out a logo or they removed it with Photoshop, or there at the bottom of your website had the copyright, or those sorts of things. It’s easier and it’s easier for us when we’re trying to enforce your rights to say, “Well, you knew.”

Rachel B.: You know, it’s like when you’re a kid steal the candy before dinner, and then they’re like, “I didn’t know.” And you’re like, “I told you.”

Autumn B.: I see you’re red all over your face. Yes.

Rachel B.: I know, I know. And you’re like, “I told you.” They can’t say, “Well, I didn’t know.” They can try but in a court the Judges is gonna go, “Mm-hmm (affirmative).”

Autumn B.: Yeah. It’s just makes your case stronger if you ever have to go after anyone.

Rachel B.: Yes.

Autumn B.: So, let’s talk about that. So if you find that someone has copied your stuff and it’s incredibly upsetting. It’s like a dagger to the heart. It’s like someone has stolen your baby. What do you do? What are some of the first steps that you recommend?

Rachel B.: Well one thing I think is we need to identify what is infringement. Basically we need to look and see do they own it? Do they have a license to use it? The answer is probably no and no. And then are they using it on a commercial based feed. I don’t want to go down the path of all the-

Autumn B.: Social media.

Rachel B.: There are use exceptions and all of that, medias, schools, I don’t want to go down that far. So, just ask yourself the questions. Are they the owner? No because it’s probably your logo. Do they have a license? No because you probably didn’t give it to them. Are they using it like on a commercial based website or a feed or a print in a book? Yes. Okay. We’ve got infringement.

Rachel B.: From there is when you have to figure out what your next steps are going to be. I think half the battle is identifying that it is infringement. And this is where I always tell clients, and I see it in Facebook groups all the time. They’re like, “Oh, let me just run over and get the take down notice through the Facebook submitted.” And I’m like, “Stop. You need to take a breath and you need to document everything.”

Autumn B.: Yes.

Rachel B.: And I actually would say talk to a lawyer before you even do that, especially if it’s an extremely large company that has done it [crosstalk 00:38:12].

Autumn B.: Yeah or they’re making money from it. Yeah.

Rachel B.: Exactly. Because once that evidence is gone what am I gonna attach to a lawsuit?

Autumn B.: Yeah. Once you reach out to them, it might disappear. So, that first step is definitely take your screen shots, maybe buy the time, or do whatever you need to do so that you’ve got your evidence of what actually happened.

Rachel B.: I also, I’m not a proponent of sending an internet mob, because if you start tipping off the company that’s using it, or you start ticking them off, they’re going to be less likely to negotiated with you, less likely to settle, and you’re gonna … you are gonna end up having to pay more out to enforce it.

Rachel B.: Now that being said, there have been situations where none of the legal options have panned out, that I’ve seen people take that. But it’s like a last step [crosstalk 00:38:58].

Autumn B.: And you mean like posting on social media and saying, “This company is terrible. Look what they did.” Yeah. I definitely agree.

Rachel B.: Wait. Don’t do any of that yet. Because we’re gonna walk you through now what to actually do. So [crosstalk 00:39:10]

Autumn B.: Before we get to that, yeah, I want to talk about too, I get a lot of questions where it’s not a photo that’s been taken, you know, the entire photo. It’s maybe someone has a website and it kind of looks like my website. Or someone has a logo and it’s similar to my logo.

Autumn B.: So, how can you tell? Like what is too close? That is … yeah it is super gray. That’s the answer. It’s a super gray area.

Rachel B.: It’s so arbitrary.

Autumn B.: Yeah.

Rachel B.: Because there’s a lot of … like there’s a lot of elements out there that are not protectable separately, like in a logo. But the combination of them may be protectable. So, we see this a lot, especially maybe it’s something we should have said earlier, we see this a lot when people log onto Etsy or Fiverr to get pre-made logos. Those are not gonna be original works. They’re not inherently … more than likely there’s a bunch of them out there that [crosstalk 00:40:00]

Autumn B.: That are really similar. Yup.

Rachel B.: They’re not gonna get protectability over it, at least for copyright. You might for trademark but just keeping in mind original works … and what was your question? I think I forgot now.

Autumn B.: So, just how close is too close? Like if someone has not really taken your work but has maybe created their own thing that is similar? I would say that’s really heard … I mean in my experience that’s really hard to stop.

Rachel B.: Very hard.

Autumn B.: Just because under copyright law it’s not … unless it’s what we call a verbatim copy, where it’s pretty much they took your whole thing, you know you’ve got to show that it’s substantially similar. And one judge may say yes, another judge may say no. It’s a very gray area.

Rachel B.: Yeah. It’s really hard. I have an article on it and I can’t remember what the case name specifically is. But, someone had taken another’s work and they had tried to duplicate it. Not like physically duplicate it but like recreate it for themselves, and looking at it you may think that it was from the same, again we’re not worried about source connectors here when we’re talking about copyright, you would have thought that it was from the same artist.

Rachel B.: But, they even dug down into looking at the shadows from the buildings, into the reflections in the puddles. And it was very similar. Like you said, it’s a very hard situation. I think the more clear cut is when they take your actual image, or your actual logo, video, music, whatever, and use it. Is pretty clear cut infringement.

Autumn B.: Yeah. So, let’s say you do have a clear cut infringement and you want to go after them. I always, like you said, start with a friendly request. I like for, if it’s my client, I like for them to talk to me first so we can evaluate it. Because you always want to think like if this, if what I send goes in front of a judge am I going to be proud of this, or [crosstalk 00:41:49].

Rachel B.: 100%

Autumn B.: If I’m shown this in a deposition, on the record, under oath, how am I gonna talk about this? Think about that. You don’t want to say anything that could be used against you later, for sure. [crosstalk 00:42:01]

Rachel B.: Another thing-

Autumn B.: I think a friendly request is often a good starting point.

Rachel B.: I agree. And another thing to consider with that too is, you know, I get it. As an entrepreneur I completely understand. You’re thinking, “Oh, I could send a letter for free without a lawyer and you know, it could resolve itself and that would be great.” The problem is you could have them clam up, they become defensive, they take it down, we don’t have evidence. Or you can say and do some things that are damaging-

Autumn B.: To you later.

Rachel B.: That when the lawyer gets involved it’s going to cost you more money on the lawyer. Because then we’re spending more time trying to negotiate and tear down and repair the walls that you’ve now, you know, done to the other side. Like, I can’t express to you, that’s probably where the bulk of some of the issues comes into this, is just really fixing interpersonally things that have been done.

Rachel B.: And it’s just, to me, it’s kind of a waste of money for you guys and it’s something that you could have just stopped and been like, “Okay. I don’t need to …” and I get it. When someone takes your image, especially if you’re in the image or your kids are in it. You’re pissed. You want to say something right then. You really have to screen shot, store it all, and then email one of us.

Autumn B.: That’s right. Quick consult on what you need to do next.

Rachel B.: Yeah. I agree.

Autumn B.: Yeah, so then let’s say you do get involved. What are some of the other steps that you might take to kind of escalate things, Rachel? If that friendly request, you know, they come back and they’re like “No [crsostalk 00:43:24].”

Rachel B.: They tell you to pound sand? Yeah.

Autumn B.: Or just don’t respond. Or?

Rachel B.: I hate that.

Autumn B.: That’s the most frustrating.

Rachel B.: No response. Well, the thing is I’ve gotten to the point in my practice that if they just don’t respond and I know they’ve received it. I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Make sure they received it. It’s a certified letter. I’ve done all of that.

Rachel B.: If they just don’t do a response, you’re only option is pretty much is to file a lawsuit. If they do respond, but they kind of stone wall, it really depends on the situation. I had one client, where it’s so funny because … maybe this is a little good PSA. You guys from listening to this now know more than some attorneys that are often across the table from us.

Autumn B.: Yes.

Rachel B.: Because someone will get a take down notice or you know a cease and desists. And they’re run to their regular lawyer who’s not an intellectual property attorney, and I’ve had other attorneys make the excuse of, “Well, it was on the web. It was fair game.” That’s not true.

Rachel B.: And in one of these situations they were stone walling and my client didn’t have registered images, and that’s one thing that he should have brought up but he didn’t. But they kept … they were jerks about it. They were just kind of really jerks about our demands of take down and to pay the licensing fees for the time that they were using it.

Rachel B.: And so, I finally got fed up and with the permission of my client I would have sent another letter and increased the demand. [inaudible 00:44:47] letter and normally in negotiations you’re going down to meet in the middle, right?

Rachel B.: But then this guy really ticked me off because he didn’t know what he was talking about and my client was really irritated, and the images were still up. And so, we kept increasing the demand. We got to 14 and a half times more than her original. [crosstalk 00:45:04] and finally I think his client was pissed at him for allowing it to get this. And we settled at that.

Rachel B.: Of course my client was ecstatic. Right? Especially considering she didn’t have registered images. It was a hard fought battle. But that’s one of the things I will try to be as friendly, and give as benefit of the doubt as much as possible, but if you keep stone walling and Autumn and I can tell when the opposing council is trying to rack up fees.

Autumn B.: Yeah.

Rachel B.: For you guys. And I don’t play that game. I don’t allow them, especially large companies who think that they can try to burry clients. I don’t know, I just don’t feel right taking the money from you guys when I know that this what they’re doing. And so, we’ll either talk about, hey it’s time to sue, or like the tactic that I just took. I’ve only ever done that once.

Autumn B.: Yeah, but I think a lot of business owners don’t necessarily understand that just because you own a copyright, even if you have a registration, there’s no like automatic enforcement mechanism. Like, you basically-

Rachel B.: You.

Autumn B.: You are the enforcement mechanism. You have to enforce your own rights. You have to spend your own money to enforce those rights. It’s a right but you can’t do anything with it, unless you’re willing to put your money where your mouth it. So, if you’re not willing to file a lawsuit, like some of this you can try and negotiate but if you’re not willing to file a lawsuit, there may come a point in your negotiations where you’re just kind of at the end of the road. You’ve exerted as much leverage as you can, you’ve threatened, you have cajoled, you have tried all the different negotiating tactics, but if you’re not willing to amp it up a notch.

Autumn B.: And frankly, even if you are willing to amp it up a notch and file the lawsuit, then you’re still spending more money, and it’s a long negotiation because no one wants to go to trial.

Rachel B.: Right. We’ve already given you guys the steps of how to do this. Put it into your line item on your budget, and save. And then register so that you can [crosstalk 00:46:54].

Autumn B.: So that you’ll have that leverage.

Rachel B.: Right. Yup. So, yeah that’s kind of my step. We go with the … I really try to do notices before I do a DMCA take down [crosstalk 00:47:01].

Autumn B.: Yeah, I do too.

Rachel B.: Unless there’s a really specific reason. Maybe there’s minors in the image, or it’s you being used in a really [crosstalk 00:47:10].

Autumn B.: Get it down quickly. Yeah.

Rachel B.: Yeah, yeah. So I try not to the DMCA take downs right away. I try to give the other party, I don’t know, it kind of depends on the situation.

Autumn B.: And yeah that’s where like you’re filing a notice with a third party, like a Facebook or a YouTube. There is a law that basically allows for those companies, because they’re not creating photos, they’re just hosting other people’s photos, so it protects them from being sued for copyright infringement. As long as they take it down when someone asks them to. So, that’s why there’s this whole process and procedure about it.

Autumn B.: But I’m like you, I think it’s worth, reaching out at least once and saying, “Hey, I see this thing. I own it. You don’t have permission. Please take it down. If you don’t, I will file this take down notice.”

Rachel B.: And you can also send it to their internet service provider. So, to whoever they [crosstalk 00:47:54]

Autumn B.: If it’s on their own website. Yeah.

Rachel B.: Their own website, yeah. Yup. You can’t take down all the Facebooks.

Autumn B.: Wouldn’t that be great?

Rachel B.: That would be good. So, the DMCA take down and you don’t have to have a lawyer send one of those, but since there are requirements because DMCA stands for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. So, there’s requirements outlined in that law that in order to force like this third party, like the YouTube, Facebook and domain providers or hosting providers, in order to force them to take it down you have to really comply with the requirements.

Rachel B.: So, I definitely, again you don’t have to have a lawyer send the DMCA, but I highly recommend. And again, that’s going to a third party. When we’re talking about these take down notices we’re sending pretty much a demand letter that’s gonna request maybe compensation, take down, I don’t know. Maybe you want to offer them to license the image, you know [crosstalk 00:48:49].

Autumn B.: If they want to keep using it.

Rachel B.: Exactly. That’s going to go directly to the infringer. I’m sorry. That’s going to go directly to the infringer. And then the DMCA is going to a third party.

Autumn B.: Yeah. Well, as we’re wrapping up I don’t want to end on a down note talking about infringement.

Rachel B.: I know.

Autumn B.: So, do you have any best practices for people, let’s say like for a photographer, somebody that has a lot of copyrighted works. For just kind of managing that, developing a workflow, what do you recommend?

Rachel B.: So, we’re looking at the 90 day time line.

Autumn B.: Yeah.

Rachel B.: This [isn’t a made perfect 00:49:22] formula that I’m gonna give you, but this is a manageable one. If you are absolutely slammed, it’s just you and you’re not able to task somebody, you’re not able to carve out time, I say the first of every quarter to do bulk do all your copyright registrations. The down fall in that is you could take an image in January and your registration slot time is not for another three months. You could get an infringement happening in February.

Rachel B.: And for that perfect balance to fall out for us to be able to get statutory damages and the attorney’s fees it needs to be before infringements. So, that’s not perfect. Really, if you could as close to when you have published the image and you have sold it, and actually you don’t even have to meet with your clients yet to sell it. Maybe when you’re done processing the gallery, put it into your workflow. That would be ideal is when to do it. It honestly, we [crosstalk 00:50:19]

Autumn B.: Even once a month. Find an assistant who can help you do this once a month.

Rachel B.: Yeah. And it’s easy because you don’t have to every image. You can do galleries, as long as they are all connected within like the same event, like a wedding, or a portrait session. You can do an entire gallery. It’s more cost effective and then you just have one upload.

Autumn B.: Yeah. Or if you’re doing an online course. Stick all the stuff on a hard drive and you can mail it in. It does not have to be that complicated. You know, once you get everything finished, package it up. Send it away.

Rachel B.: Yeah, definitely. [crosstalk 00:50:49]

Autumn B.: Photographers are a special case because they just create so many files and so many … the quantity is so huge.

Rachel B.: Mm-hmm (affirmative). You know, and I’ve had blog posts that have gone viral that I have … I knew that they were going to be shareable to a high level that I went ahead and had registered them.

Autumn B.: Yeah.

Rachel B.: So that they’re not lifted and used.

Autumn B.: I’ve registered entire blogs.

Rachel B.: Yeah.

Autumn B.: Yeah, and again, I suggest a workflow for that too. Every quarter is my kind of dream scenario.

Rachel B.: Right? [crosstalk 00:51:19].

Autumn B.: Yeah, if you’ve got a blog that you’re making money from. If that’s your bread and butter. I have had people who were making really high income off of ads and things tied to their blog, and then you have one post that’s copied and all of sudden your traffic is going to someone else. And you can have a real hit in your income. So, if it’s something you’re making money from it’s definitely something you need to be protecting.

Rachel B.: You know, keep in mind, this is a little tricky but just because someone takes your image and credits you. We go back to the fundamental questions. Are they the owner? Copyright owner? No. Do they have a license? Did you give them one? No. Is it on a commercial feed? Yes. That’s it. You don’t have to ask was I credited or not? Because that’s doesn’t negate infringement.

Autumn B.: That credit does not help. Linking to your site does not help. [crosstalk 00:52:04]. I know, I do too. There’s a lot of misconceptions about, “Oh, it was posted on Facebook, so of course I can use it because they put it out there.” And that is not true.

Rachel B.: Or I used the re-share app on Regram, on Instagram. That’s drives me crazy, because I’m like, “That’s not permission. It’s just giving you a tool to easily steal people’s stuff.”

Autumn B.: I know, I know.

Rachel B.: Well, just keep in mind guys if you just want to be vigilant. There are systems out there, I can’t remember any from the top of my head that you can … I think TinEye is one that you can upload your images, your logos, and your stuff, and it’s like a Google alert. [crosstalk 00:52:40]

Autumn B.: Kind of scrolls the web.

Rachel B.: Yeah. So that, if you really are going to be very serious about protecting … another thing to consider too, and I know we keep mentioning photographers. But if like you’re a photographer, videographer, and you have individuals in the image, it’s even more important for you to patrol and police this because you could have a client, that image is lifted and used elsewhere. The client it going to be upset, not only at the infringer. They’re gonna be upset at you for not helping to protect because their face is the one that’s in the image, and they have publicity rights which is a whole nother conversation.

Rachel B.: But, just, I feel like it’s a duty that we definitely need to for ourselves protect our intellectual property. Be it a podcast, blog post, logo, image. But if we’re also co-creating something with another individual or we’re creating stuff for a client, we really need to take on that responsibility. So, I hope we kind of divided out this talk between defining it all and then what to do with an infringement.

Rachel B.: Sounds very scary. I know we threw around the terms lawsuit and all of that. Please go back, re-listen, and ask questions if you need to. Autumn and I’s inboxes are always open to help. This is not a case of if it happens, it’s going to be when it happens.

Autumn B.: Yeah.

Rachel B.: The internet makes theft of intellectual property and abuse of it really easy.

Featured Guest & Resources

Autumn Witt Boyd is a lawyer who helps entrepreneurs protect their most valuable asset — their intellectual property. She provides legal guidance with copyright and trademark protection, contract negotiation, and problem solving. Along with her team at The Law Office of Autumn Witt Boyd PLLC, she loves helping entrepreneurs grow their dream business through smart collaborations and deals. You can find Autumn in Chattanooga, Tennessee hanging out with her three kids and husband, monogramming and putting glitter on anything that stays still, or sipping a glass of champagne after bedtime. Autumn also hosts the Legal Road Map® podcast, which teaches business owners how to protect their rights and stay out of legal hot water.

 

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About the author

Rachel Brenke is a lawyer, author and business consultant. She is currently helping professionals all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction.

Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke

Rachel Brenke

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