Can I Copyright This?

Clients often ask the question, “Can I copyright this?” Most times our new clients have no idea that they could have added copyright protection for their work.  Unfortunately, it’s usually after seeing their work displayed without their permission and most importantly, without compensation, that this realization occurs.  Below is sample of things that we copyright for our clients:

1. Course Content 

2. Logos

3. Photos

4. T-Shirt Designs

5. Jewelry Designs

6. Promotional brochures

7. Website content

8. YouTube Videos

9. Website designs

10. Fashion prints

11. Blog Posts

12. Movies

13. Poems

14. Song lyrics

15. Books

16. Artwork

17. Paintings

18. Architectural works

19. Sound recordings

20. Screenplays

21. Stage Plays

22. Computer Software

23. Articles

24. Essays

25. Advertisements

26. Speeches

27. Scripts

28. Sketches

29. Drawings

30. Cartoons

31. Paintings

32. Sculptures

33. Fashion Designs

34. Live webcasts

35. Podcasts

36. Mp3 files

37. Blueprints

38. Product descriptions

39. Ebooks

40. Music Videos 

Of course, this is only a sample of what can be copyrighted. If you regularly create works that are need of copyright protection, time is of the essence.  The days of mailing yourself a sealed envelop to establish your copyright are long gone.

If you’d like more information on filing for copyright protection, send an email – anitria@entreprelegal.com

Common Mistakes To Avoid As A Small Business Owner

Every day we see articles and social media posts encouraging people to step out and start their own business. We hear the constant encouragement to have multiple sources of income. We often see stories of small business success and we’ve all heard amazing stories about major corporations buying unknown startup businesses for millions. As a serial entrepreneur, I have seen the highs and lows of being a small business owner. Running a small business takes time, hard work and commitment. To get your new business off on the right foot, avoid these common startup mistakes.

1. No Business Plan

A great business plan should help you evaluate the market conditions and competition for your product and/or service. Your plan should explore start-up costs, operation budgets and the income you expect to generate.

The process of developing a good business plan may even expose issues that you did not consider in the beginning. It may even help you to decide whether your idea is worth pursuing. If it’s just a hobby, viability and profitability may not matter. But if market success if your goal, starting a business without a plan is a recipe for disaster.

2. No Marketing Plan

Having a equally great marketing plan is essential. After all, you can’t expect to make money if no one knows about your products/services. Your business plan will identify your targeted customer base and your marketing plan should demonstrate the best way to appeal to that customer base and separate your business from your competitors. Without a well-organized marketing plan, you’re prone to waste time and money on things that will not lead to profitability.

3. Patience Is A Virtue

Many business owners are so excited and eager to grow their business that they forget that in business, rapid growth sometimes can lead to even bigger problems. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your new business won’t be either. The fact is small businesses typically don’t earn any profit until year three, and it’s common to encounter issues and have setbacks. Successful business owners are prepared for this and have the patience and financial reserves to stay afloat and push forward.

4. No Budget

The desire for rapid success often gets small business owners into trouble because their spending is impulsive rather than planned. Your business plan should have included your budget and necessary expenses. However, there are pitfalls to avoid such as expensive office or retail space, unnecessary staff and equipment. Options such as virtual office space, home offices and office sharing are ideal if you don’t have a lot to spend on overhead. The lower your overhead, the more you will have to put into things that will really make a difference in the success of your business. Taking on unnecessary debt is a sure fire way to tank your business early. 

5. Know Your Value

A common mistake made by new business owners is to fail to adequately price your products and/or services. You know the saying work smart, not hard? Well a surefire way to work hard and still lose money is to fail to know your worth. The market will make room for you if you have and present a desired product and/or service. Trying to attract more business by undercutting the competition or just plain not knowing what you should charge is a way to ensure defeat. 

6. Selecting The Wrong Business Entity Type

I get calls all the time from new business owners who rushed to form a limited liability company because that’s what their friends did or told them to do. Others decided to wait and see if their business would work before setting up a business entity. Choosing the wrong business entity, or not setting one up at all, can have very undesirable consequences down the road. For example, if you operate as a general partnership, you may be surprised to find that you are personally responsible for all the business debts, even the ones you never agreed to. If you set up a corporation, you may end up paying higher taxes because you’re taxed at both the corporate and individual level. Utilize legal and tax professionals upfront. It may seem like an expensive route but it is far more costly after the fact. Entreprelegal is an affordable legal service designed specifically for small business owners.

7. No Business Insurance

For business with office and retail space, setting up a business entity limits your personal liability for business obligations. But you still won’t be protected if someone slips and falls on your premises, if you have an accident with a company car, or if you are sued for a defective product.

These sorts of claims can be devastating to both your business and your personal finances. Consult an insurance agent to get proper coverage for your office.

8. Not Utilizing Written Contracts

No matter the entity type, every business needs a written document that explains each member’s rights and responsibilities and what actions will be taken if one of them leaves the business.

All too often, though, business partners fail to put anything in writing because they get along well with each other and think they’ll always be able to resolve things easily. This is frequently untrue, and disputes between partners can be difficult, expensive and a business killer.

9. Failure to Protect Intellectual Property

If your business produces artwork, photos, music, software, etc… the things your creations may be eligible for copyright protection. In addition, your business name and logo are intellectual property that may be eligible for state and/or federal trademark protection. Your logo may also be protected by copyright. Smart business owners should always take steps to protect their intellectual property by formally registering it and actively guarding against its use by competitors.

10. Thinking You Can Do It All Yourself

Entrepreneurs tend to be independent, confident and self-reliant individuals. However, knowing your limitations and learning to delegate tasks are important skills necessary for a successful startup. Try to focus on the things you’re good at and enjoy while turning to other for things that require specialized knowledge.

Becoming a business owner is an amazing feeling. But if you want your business to succeed, take the time to plan and protect yourself. 

How Do I Protect My Brand?

New businesses are created every day, especially with the increase in internet accessibility.  You can now develop a new idea and become a business owner with the click of a few buttons, you’re live on the internet. Unfortunately, this too often results in infringement of other established brands. Brand protection is necessary to stop infringement. Brand infringement cause businesses to lose billions annually.

If you are currently a business owner, It is very likely that your business has intellectual property that attracts customers and creates revenue. Whether it be a recognized trademark, copyright or patent, every single business has some sort of intellectual property.  Whether you know it or not, your intellectual property is the reason your business earns revenue. 

Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs simply do not know their rights regarding their intellectual property, and if they know, they’re not sure how to go about protecting it. I work with small businesses every day, and it’s alarming to hear about how much revenue is being lost due to infringement on their brand. 

Brand protection helps thriving businesses protect their reputation and maintain the integrity of their products and services. There are several ways to implement brand protection for your business. I’m going to detail some of the most common means for small businesses to implement a plan. 

In House Reviews

Due to fear of driving up overhead costs, many entrepreneurs have relied on the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) plan of action. There is nothing wrong with this, if you know what you are doing. In-house review and monitoring is the most cost-efficient mode of brand protection, but it has the most holes. Many instances of infringement can be missed simply because the business owner was unaware of it or did not know what to do about it.

Automated Software

There are a number of software companies creating new programs to track down and eliminate infringing products around the world. However, your copyrighted works are often missed by the software. It is also common for infringers to just make subtle changes to original works but even derivative works often still constitute copyright infringement, and the software may not catch the derivative works even though they are copyright infringement. The software is also not the most cost efficient option.

Entreprelegal Copyright System

Entreprelegal is a more cost-efficient than automated software and closes the gaps between in-house reviews and automated software. It is a proactive approach, so clients never have to worry about infringers. Once an infringement is identified, Entreprelegal immediately has the content removed. There are different levels of enrollment, so the program works for all business sizes. You can learn about the specifics of my subscription models here

No matter level of brand protection you choose for your business, you have to be proactive. Protect your intellectual property or lose it.

Can I Copyright This?

Clients often ask the question, "Can I copyright this?" Most times our new clients have no idea that they could have added copyright protection for their work.  Unfortunately, it's usually after seeing their work displayed without their permission and most...

Why All Business Owners Should Have An Official Trademark Search

An official name search is imperative if you do not have a federal trademark registration. Imagine this…you just started a business and found the perfect name. However, money is tight and you think a trademark can be saved for later down the road. You run a google search and a TESS search and think you have the green light. Your name is not in use. Several months or years later, your business has grown and your business name is now recognizable. You have marketing material and you have invested in an advertising budget. You call your attorney and decide to proceed with a trademark application. However, you learn that google and the TESS database are not adequate searches. The trademark office does not only look for names that are the same.  The trademark office will also test whether your mark is likely to cause confusion with already registered marks. So, even though you ran your own search and didn’t find any business with the same name as yours, there could still be a number of businesses with names that are similar enough that they are likely to cause confusion. 

Performing an official search now can save you thousands of dollars down the road.  An official search will let you know what level of risk you will face during the application process. You could be denied a trademark registration because you didn’t verify with an official search. You may be able to overcome the denial and the trademark denial may not mean you have to change your name. However, if the owner of the registered mark becomes aware of your mark and application, they may decide to pursue a claim against you for trademark infringement resulting in a name change for your business. A name change can be detrimental as a brand change can cost you a lot of business. I’ve had countless business owners contact our office due to an involuntary name change all because they failed to properly have an official search and wasted thousands of dollars on marketing materials. 

The search fee is different for each attorney. But a few hundred dollars now can save thousands down the road. If you’d like to get started with a search, feel free to email me – anitria@entreprelegal.com

Can I Copyright This?

Clients often ask the question, "Can I copyright this?" Most times our new clients have no idea that they could have added copyright protection for their work.  Unfortunately, it's usually after seeing their work displayed without their permission and most...