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It’s probably one of the last things that you’d consider after leaping into blogging, right?
Of course, you've picked out your domain name (and ding, ding, it's a WINNER!), nabbed your header art (and it's sensational!) and you're excitedly planning your content as we speak type, but when it comes to trade marking and copyright law (and its exact relation to your blog), there's every chance that such a topic prompts you to raise your right eyebrow and exclaim ''huh?!''
The truth is, few of us consider the legislation surrounding trade marking and copyright when embarking on our blogging adventure (and why would we? We're too busy having a super old time registering our blog names!), but in a digital era where the blogging boom is WELL and truly blooming, is it something that more of us will be contemplating in the future? Absolutely.
Presenting, The Blogger's Guide To Copyright & Trade Mark Law: everything that you need to know about trade marking your blog, what the official rules are, and exactly how to protect your online identity! (Split into a series because sheesh, there's a heap of information to cover!)
A trade mark can be a word, phrase, letter, number, sound, smell (I know! Who knew?!), shape, logo, picture, aspect of packaging or a combination of these. It's used to distinguish the goods and services of one trader/business/blog from those of another, and can also protect your brand name (and anybody from thieving it).
You bet your keyboards you can! Just as plumbing is considered a goods/service, a category also exists called ''weblog (blog) services (online publication of journals or diaries)''.
Yes. Unfortunately, even if you're currently trading as Winona's Excellent Earmuffs For Parrots, registration of a business, company or domain name does not in itself give you any proprietary rights - only a trade mark can give you that kind of protection.
Much like THAT movie with Meryl Streep, it's complicated.
The same word(s) may be registered by different people as business names and trade marks, however a registered trade mark owner can sue a business owner for infringing on their trade mark if a business owner uses it on goods or services similar to those covered by the trade mark registration. For example, while you could have two completely different goods and services - say, an accountancy firm and a retail store - using the name 'Winona's Excellent Earmuffs For Parrots', you couldn't have two businesses of a substantially identical or deceptively similar nature trading with the same name (i.e., two retail stores or BLOGS using the name 'Winona's Excellent Earmuffs For Parrots').
Some of the things a court case will consider are:
Trade Mark registration provides the owner with legal rights to exclusive use, and/or control of the use of the trade mark throughout their country of origin for the goods or services for which it is registered.
Copyright automatically gives you rights to the protection of your original works of art, literature, music, films, broadcasts and computer programs against copying and certain other uses. It protects the original expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves.
While making copies of copyright material can infringe exclusive rights, a certain amount of copying is allowed under the fair dealing provisions of the legislation. Copyright doesn't protect you against independent creation of a similar work. A trade mark does.
Part two covering how to trade mark your blog, the cost of trade marking your blog and how to prevent trade mark infringement is currently being prepared, but in the meantime, let's gab! Has trade marking your blog ever entered YOUR mind? Have you ever noticed a blog with a similar name to yours and thought ''hmmmm!''? What would you do if a blog with an identical name to yours popped up tomorrow? (Alternatively, if there's any questions that you'd like answered in the next post, please let me know and I'll do my very best to find out!)