The SHE-EO’s C-Suite Checklist: Her Guide to Contracts, Copyright and Content Protection.
This guide has key legal information to guide you through common questions SHE-EO’s have about protecting their intellectual property from copycats. In addition, I’m sharing the basic contracts SHE-EO’s should have in place to protect their business’s assets.
Copyright ProtectionCopyright is a type of "intellectual property" that protects original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works such as: blogs, website copy, books, movies, songs, computer software and architecture. The owner of the copyright possesses a "bundle of rights" that can be used to protect, distribute, reproduce, display, and make derivative works from their creation.
For example, a derivative work can be turning your blog into a book or your book into a movie. Distribution of your work(s) can be accomplished by allowing others to re-share a blog post with your permission.
But what do you do when someone takes your creative content without your permission for their benefit and financial gain? How can you be proactive and protect your valuable creative content?
I'm glad you asked. Here are a few ways to protect your creative content and prevent copyright theft:
Trademark ProtectionA trademark protects your brand elements that identify your business, such as your business or product name, logo, or tagline. As the owner of a mark, it is your responsibility to protect your trademark. Protecting your mark includes actively using the trademark and preventing others from doing so.
Here are some great steps to take to protect your trademark: secure your company's social media handles; placed the (TM) symbol next to marks you plan to protect; placed (R) symbol for federally registered trademarks you own; actively use your mark in commerce (i.e. mark is associated with goods or services you offer); identify and hire trademark attorney to file Trademark Application; have a trusted legal advisor on your team protect your trademark from possible infringement; and establish a routine to search for brand infringement on the web and social media (or hire an attorney to do this for you).
Contract ProtectionThe BEST SHE-EO's have contracts in place to preserve business relationships and protect their clients. Great contracts are written in language that is easy to understand, clearly outline both parties expectations, explain the work that is to be performed or the product that is to be delivered, covers compensation and PROTECTS your business's assets.
Your contract should not be a "Frankenstein Agreement" which are contracts that have been pieced together from various sources. Perhaps you've taken a sentence from someone's lawn care business contract or have added a paragraph from your best friend's mother's boyfriend's cousin's contract they shared with you. Now, your final product is this crazy creation that may not even be legally binding.