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Trademark vs Copyright

Nov 28, 2019

Umer Idrisi
Trademark vs Copyright
Competition in blogging is getting fierce. And it seems that some bloggers are eager to do everything, even infringe copyright and trademark, to beat the competition.

Fortunately, there are a few simple ways you can protect your intellectual property from being stolen by unfair rivals. If you register your copyright and trademark, no one will be eligible to use your creations without your permission.

In this article, we will explain to you the difference between copyright and trademark and will give you tips on how to grow your blog business.

What is copyright?

In a nutshell, copyright is the exclusive right given to the author of creative work to reproduce, publish, and distribute the work.

Copyright is used to protect the original expression of the author’s idea in the form of creative work, but not the idea itself.

What does copyright protect?

Copyright protects original works of authorship:
  • Literary authorship (e.g., poetry, novels, reports)
  • Dramatic authorship (e.g., movies, TV shows)
  • Musical authorship (e.g., songs, podcasts)
  • Authorship of other artistic works (e.g., computer software, architecture)
Please, note that copyright does not protect separate facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation. What does it mean? To make it clear, let’s consider a simple example.

Harry Potter books cannot be reproduced without permission from J. K. Rowling, the copyright owner. But that doesn’t mean that other writers can’t ever create a book about a young wizard who wears glasses. A copyright protects the creative work – the book, not the idea – the life story of a young wizard.

What are the key requirements to be protected?

You can protect your work with copyright if it meets the following requirements:
  • Your work is 100% original. If the part of your creative work was copied or modified from the existing work of another author, you are not eligible to receive copyright.
  • Your work has a creative aspect. For example, a basic list of 10 Fashion Bloggers to Follow on Instagram cannot be copyrighted, because the list creation doesn’t require any creative efforts.  But a well-researched, 2,000-word article that covers the same topic may be eligible to receive copyright.
  • Your work is fixed in a specific tangible medium. In other words, your work must be published somewhere that other people can find, see, hear, or touch it.  For example, you can’t protect live streaming video on Instagram, if it wasn’t saved as a video file.

How long does copyright protection last?

Copyright protection lasts during the author’s life plus 70 years more. Yep, copyright protection doesn’t last forever.

How much does a U.S. copyright registration cost?

For basic claims, you should pay the standard filing fee for electronic registration in the amount of $55. However, in case if you register one work, not made for hire, and you are the only author and claimant, you need to pay only $35.

What rights does copyright provide?

When copyright belongs to you, you can decide when, where, and how to publish, distribute, and use your creative work. You can also choose to allow or not allow other people and entities to reproduce your work.

If someone infringes on your copyright, you are eligible to take legal action. The court may make an order to stop the person from using your work. Or, the judge may also make an order for damages. In this case, the profits gained by the infringer will be assigned to you as an original copyright owner.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a type of intellectual property consisting of a specific recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies product, service, or brand.

What does trademark protect?

Trademarks protect not creative works, but names, logos, and slogans. You can register a word, phrase, symbol, fonts, or designs associated with your beauty blog to protect your rights.

What are the key requirements to be protected?

If you want to register your trademark, you should provide the following information to the United States Patent and Trademark Office:
  • Prove actual use or a real intent to use the trademark for a business purpose. It means that you should provide a link to your blog that you have already launched or is going to launch.
  • Provide a detailed description of the product or service being trademarked. Describe what your blog is all about. Highlight the peculiarities of your brand.
  • Provide a drawing or specimen of the trademark. You should show how exactly your brand logo or design of your site looks like.
  • Mention the date of the first use of the trademark. Here you should mention the first day of the work of your site.

How long does trademark protection last?

Trademark protection lasts for as long as the mark is used in commerce.

How much does a U.S. trademark registration cost?

To register a trademark, you should pay a fee. The amount of the fee depends on the class of goods and services:
  • $225 for TEAS (Trademark Electronic Application System) Plus
  • $275 for TEAS Reduced Fee (TEAS RF)
  • $400 for TEAS Regular

What rights does a trademark provide?

A trademark prevents others from using similar words, phrases, symbols, fonts, or designs in a way that can cause confusion about the origin of the goods and services. Here are a few examples of nasty trademark infringement cases.
What rights does a trademark provide?

When your trademark is registered, your logo, brand name, and design of your blog will be protected by law. In the case of trademark infringement, you can take legal action.

Signs of a trademark and copyright

Now let’s take a closer look at symbols of a trademark and copyright that you can use to protect your intellectual property:
  • - If you put this trademark symbol after a blog logo or phrase, you will alert your competitors that you have claimed this symbol or phrase as your own. You can use this symbol no matter whether you have formally applied for it or not.
  • - This trademark symbol works in the same was as ™ does. The only difference is that it is used by companies that offer services, not products.
  • ® - You can use this trademark symbol only if the Patent and Trademark Office approved your application. The ® symbol stands for a registered trademark. The use of this symbol without permission given by the Patent and Trademark Office is illegal.
  • © - This is a copyright symbol. You don’t have to register copyright to use it formally.

The major differences between trademark and copyright

Both trademark and copyright protect the intellectual property from potential infringers. The difference is that they protect different assets.

Trademark helps companies to protect the elements of brand identity and prevents damage to reputation. Copyright protects original works of authorship. In the case of blogging, trademarks help to “guard” the brand image of the blog, and copyright – the content of the blog.

“Depending on what asset you want to protect from infringement, you might need a copyright, a trademark, or both. There is a significant overlap between different types of intellectual property, and it’s better to have more protection than necessary than not enough,” says Melody Pears, a blog writer at TrustMyPaper.

Do you need to trademark a blog name and logo?

As a fashion blogger, you want to know whether you should protect your blog name and logo. Well, it depends on what kind of blog you run.

Experts in intellectual property recommend blogger to apply for a trademark in the following situations:
  • If all content you create is 100% unique and provides value to the target audience
  • If you use your blog to tell readers about your offline or online business
  • Your blog attracts a large number of visitors daily
  • You are a full-time blogger, and your blog is your instrument to make money
In order to prevent the infringement of your intellectual property and protect your business, you may trademark your blog name, domain name, and logo of your brand.

Why it’s so important for fashion bloggers to use a trademark?

If you are a successful blogger, unfair rivals may try to “steal” your readers. They may create sites with the same design and similar brand name to grab the audience’s attention. Or, they can use your brand name in any other way to gain profit.

Here is an example of trademark infringement in the fashion industry. In 2018, Vogue filed suit against young designer Nareasha Willis alleging that the name of her collection “Black Vogue” is too similar to the name of the magazine. Vogue claims that it may cause confusion amongst consumers and damage the brand’s reputation.
Why it’s so important for fashion bloggers to use a trademark?

Why it’s so important for fashion bloggers to use a trademark?

Since Vogue is a registered trademark, the company has a right to seek monetary damages, including all gains, profits, and advantages derived from infringement and unfair competition.

Do you need to copyright your blog?

Under U.S. copyright law, you automatically own the copyright to everything you publish on your blog, including articles, photos, videos, reports, eBooks, and other content that you personally create. And in fact, you’re not required to include a copyright notice on your fashion blog.

However, it’s a good idea to use the © symbol to alert your website visitors that you’re claiming copyright and that you will enforce your rights in case of infringement. Also, you can add the phrase “All rights reserved” or “No reproduction without permission” to make it clear that you do not allow other users to copy your creative works.

You are not obliged to register each and every piece of content you create. However, if you copyright your fashion blog, you will get such benefits:
  • You will be eligible to sue a person who copies your creative works
  • You will get a chance to get more money in case of copyright infringement. You could get up to $150,000 per creative work if you registered it before or within three months after copyright infringement took place.
“If you create high-quality content and don’t want other people to exploit it to gain fame and money, you should copyright your blog. You have a right to protect your intellectual property, so you should use this right,” says Megan Miller, a legal writer for BestEssay.Education.

Steps to prevent content theft

If you want to prevent content theft, it’s not enough just to include a copyright notice on your site. You should take a few more steps to ensure that no one will use your blog posts, videos, and images without your permission.
  • Use an appropriate Creative Commons License. Decide what kinds of use you will and will not allow and adopt a license that meets your specific requirements.
  • Search for your content using Google.  Copy-paste the snippet of your blog post in Google search bar, enclosing the snippet in quotation marks. It will help you to find out whether your content was stolen. If you discover that someone uses your creative work without your permission, you can file a formal DMCA notice.
  • Use Copyscape. This app will help you to find sites that use your textual content. If someone has copied at least one sentence from your work, you will spot it.
  • If you have a Google account, you can set up a Google Alert to scan for your name or blog name. You will receive an email notification every time a new relevant search result will appear on the web.
  • Protect your images. If you use your own photos, infographics, and other visual content, think about adding a watermark. Even if someone uses your images without your permission, your authorship will be obvious.
  • Configure your RSS feed so that it displays post summaries. This simple trick will protect your fashion blog against scrapers using RSS feeds to obtain the content illegally.

Bottom line

As a fashion blogger, you have a right to protect your intellectual property. You can trademark your blog and copyright your creative works. Or, you can choose other ways to prevent content theft. It’s up to you.

Just be aware that if you create compelling content, there is a chance that one day someone will decide to infringe your rights. And you must get prepared for that if you want to grow your blogging business.

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