How Do I Protect My Written Work – How to Protect Your Written Ideas

As writers, we invest so much time and energy into our writing. It’s hard to consider it might be taken from us. That’s why I’m so excited about today’s topic, how to protect your writing. If copyrights, trademarks, and legal things make your head spin, you’re right. I will break it down and help you determine some clear next steps to take.

I’ll help you learn to balance the art of writing with the business of publishing and learn to hustle without losing heart. You have words, and your words matter. And as you write them, you can be boldly, bravely, maybe even a little scared sometimes. You can be you in your writing life.

It’s important as a writer to understand the legal side of the writing life. Whether you have a thriving writing business, a multi-book deal, or you just hit publish on your first blog post. Many writers come from a sort of inspirational faith-based space. They don’t love the idea of having to protect their intellectual property. They just want to write. So what would be the first thing that I’d say to them?

Trademark

So first, if you have a unique name for your blog, to your brand, whatever it is, it needs to be protected with the trademark. Even if you’re conducting business with your legal name, just because you have a legal name doesn’t mean that you’re legal to conduct business with that name.

How do I trademark my name?

So the first step is a trademark search. And that’s not just searching Google and not searching social media or the trademark database. It’s a comprehensive trademark search with an attorney to ensure there’s nothing similar because trademark infringement doesn’t just occur when it’s the same name.

It occurs when there’s anything similar, which means any name similar to yours that’s doing similar things as you—so selling similar goods or services.

What if you don’t trademark?

So what would be the long-term danger of that if you didn’t trademark the name? What are the worst-case scenarios? The worst-case scenario was one individual who had been in business for ten years and never trademarked. Then she began contacting lawyers because somebody was using the same name as her, and it was causing confusion.

Come to find out, there was a third party that had the name, and they trademarked it. She even lost the rights to their name because they never took the time to trademark it until ten years later, and by that time, it was entirely too long.

The process of getting a trademark

When it comes to intellectual property today, everything that you create on a day-to-day basis is protected with copyright, and you do have copyright protection the moment it’s created. So you don’t have to have the registration, but having the registration upfront is very beneficial.

In trademark, we’ve kind of talked about that copyright is automatically copy written because you wrote it, and it’s your own original work. With a trademark, you go through a process, it gets registered, and therefore you have the right to use that name or that brand within that industry.

And if anybody else starts to try to use it or that confusion in the marketplace, you could actually have your attorney send a letter to say, take that down. Don’t do that, and even say this has caused our client, you know, money. And so, therefore, there is this. We are requesting a settlement.

If you DIY, the filing fee for copyright is $55.So it’s very low cost, takes 20 minutes to file the application, and then the corporate office is very random anywhere from, you know, a month to seven months later you’ll receive the registration as long as it’s original work.

What’s the main difference between copyright and trademark?

So a trademark is your branding. Think of anything that identifies your brand. So your brand name. Your logo, your slogan. Those are the big three. Now you can have the name of service within your business.

Anything that identifies your brand. So product names, product lines. Think about McDonald’s.  McChicken Mcnuggets, all that’s protected with trademarks. So think about everything you’re creating within your business. Taking stock of the legal implications of your work can take some time.

Going on a slight tangent here, but if you are looking for ghostwriters in the UK, then you can find them online easily.

Protecting your work is about more than copyrights and trademarks. If you’re a writer, you’re most likely also a reader and collector of great quotes. If you ever come across the perfect quote from another author that you’d like to include in a piece of your writing, or maybe you’d like to share a quote on social media or include it in a newsletter for your readers.

Before posting or hitting send, it’s important to understand the legal implications when quoting other people’s words. It’s not as simple and clear-cut as it may seem. To avoid unintentional plagiarism, consider this helpful advice.

Attribute

We’ve all seen short quotes from books or articles make their way across the Internet. If there’s a quote you’d like to include in your writing, the rule of thumb is that the quote must be short, and it must be attributed to the author.

As long as you properly cite your source, then you don’t need to seek permission before using a brief quote from another writer. However, there are important exceptions.

For example, song lyrics and poems have different rules regarding fair use in copyright infringement. Often permission is required to use them in any capacity, so be sure to check with a legal expert regarding their use.

If you’d like to use a section of an essay or a longer excerpt from a book, you’ll need to get permission from the author.  If that quote falls under copyright protection, then you have to get permission. You need to have a license to use that quote.

If an author grants permission to use their quote, it’s important to use it exactly as requested. The license only grants permission for the exact request being made.

Research

Its likely safe to use a few short attributed quotes within your work, but make sure that it falls under fair use, especially if you’re using the quote in a product you are selling, like a book or a course. It’s wise to research the potential legal issues by consulting with a legal professional before including another author’s words within your own writing.

Conclusion

Navigating the legal waters of your writing life can feel like crossing the Atlantic in a rubber raft. But while the ocean may feel wide and deep, it doesn’t need to overwhelm you.

You can take steps to protect your work and yourself as you invest in your writing and seek to reach your readers with your messages of hope as you take charge of the business side of your writing life. I’m convinced you’ll see the value of your writing more clearly, and you’ll be empowered to share your words more boldly.

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